Car Seats - McHenry,IL

Updated on July 26, 2011
J.S. asks from McHenry, IL
22 answers

My 8 month old is almost at the 20 pound mark and old recommendations say that at 20 pounds you can use a forward facing car seat. My son hates his car seat right now so I am wondering if switching to forward facing where he can see me would help. Any opinions out there.

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So What Happened?

thank you all for your answers. He has been in a convertible car seat for 2 months and the angle is pretty low. I will be taking my car to the police station to have a car seat inspection. I am going to keep him rear facing till at least one but after that I think I will be switching him to forward facing.

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answers from Albuquerque on

Is he still in the infant carrier? My twins hated the infant carriers, we moved them to rear facing car seats at 6 months, and they dont love getting in the car seat but they dont seem to hate the new car seats as much.

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answers from Washington DC on

I've always thought it was 20 pounds AND 1 year old before you can make them forward facing. I would wait a little longer

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answers from Minneapolis on

At 8 months old, there is nothing protecting your childs spinal cord but soft tissue... meaning the head is not connected to the spine yet. The skull does not ossify to the spine until 3-6yrs of age. Meaning in a crash your forward facing baby would have nothing protecting his spinal cord but soft tissue, which cannot stretch. Google INTERNAL DECAPITATION and JOELS JOURNEY.

Then go to the store and buy your son a CONVERTIBLE car seat. First years TrueFit ($180), Graco MyRide 65 ($150), Evenflo Triumph advance ($130), Britax Roundabout50 ($160) are all excellent choices for a child coming out of an infant seat.

Your child needs to remain rear facing for at least another 4 months, but the AAP, NHTSA, Safe kids, and EVERY car seat manufacturer recommend rear facing until the convertible car seat is outgrown, or at least 2yrs and 30lbs. the bare minimum is 1yr AND 20lbs, however the bare minimum is just that, bare, and that recommendation is over 20yrs old. When you know better you do better, and the new recommendations are 2yrs and 30lbs or until the seat is outgrown rear facing.

A rear facing car seat is outgrown when there is less than one inch of hard shell above the childs head or the child goes over the rear facing weight limit. Feet touching the seat, knees bent, etc are NOT a concern and there has never been a case of broken legs while rear facing (But it IS one of the most common forward facing injuries, so that argument is moot). When rear facing the harness should come from just at or below the shoulders to prevent ride up in the seat in a crash. The harness should be snug, and the chest clip should be level with the armpits, NOT down on the belly.

A forward facing car seat is outgrown when one of three things happens, the child goes over the weight limit ,the shoulders go over the top harness slot, or the tips of the ears are level with the top of the seat back. When forward facing ,the harness should come from just at or above the shoulders. The harness should be snug an the chest clip should be level with the armpits, NOT down by the belly.

Your son is 8 months old, he's probably started crawling and maybe pulling up and cruising. He's MOBILE and doesn't want to be strapped down. But a car seat is not a choice. He's probably also over being reclined in teh car seat. Infant seats are much more reclined than rear facing convertible seats. A convertible seat allows him to sit more upright, he will be higher so he can look out the windows, and its a more comfortable position for an older child.

So no, he can't be forward facing right now, but you have an amazing selection of rear facing convertible car seats that will rear face him now and for another year or two, and then forward face him until he's ready for a belted booster seat (bare minimum of age 4 and 40lbs).
Please google internal decapitation, Joel's journey, and extended rear facing for more information. Also visit for seat check sites near you.

EDITED TO ADD- that even if your state has no actual rear facing law, almost every state has a PROPER USAGE LAW (usually written like 'car seat used to manufacturers specifications') which means if you fail to use the seat as directed in the manual, YOU are at fault if your child is injured or killed in a crash, even if the seat is faulty. There is not a single car seat on the market that allows it use forward facing before 1yr, and the newer Britax models (Frontier) are minimum of age 2.
Bottom line is, your kid cannot forward face until at least 1yr old, you cannot use any car seat forward facing before 1yr unless you want to misuse the seat.

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answers from Dayton on

Please watch the video.

Your son is not ready to be forward facing.

FWIW a few weeks ago I moved my son's seat to our 3rd row in our van to accommodate my friends baby.
He rides rear facing (he is 15mths.) but in the 3rd row the seat had to be forward facing per the manual.
HE STILL CRIED AND FUSSED-and he could see me in the rear view mirror.
A fussy baby is better than a baby that has a severe, preventable injury any day.
Again, I urge you to watch the video of Joel.

The bare minimum recommended by the AAP is one AND twenty. Not one OR twenty.
And the bare minimum is not good enough for any child.

ETA: I highly recommend the Britax Marathon70. A convertible car seat sits a lot different than a infant seat-that alone made a bit of an improvement in both my kids happiness levels in the car.

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answers from Spokane on

The NEW recommendations are to keep them REAR-facing until age 2 - regardless of weight. Rear-facing is SO much safer for them. At 8 months your son's neck is in no way strong enough to withstand a collision without injury. Please keep him rear-facing!!

My 8 month old is also 20 pounds, but we're switching her to a rear-facing seat.

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answers from Denver on

Its a year AT LEAST due to the strength of neck and head muscles not size alone. In fact new recommendations are TWO years of age before turning them around. My daughter was backwards until two years of age and she did well with it. I would not consider turning him around at this point

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answers from Gainesville on

It is NOT 20 and you can go FF! Please, please, please know this. The old recommendations were 20lbs AND at least 1 year of age. The NEW recommendations are to keep our little ones rear facing (RF) until *at least* age 2. My daughter stayed rear facing until she was well over 2.5. She was in the 95th percentile for height and perfectly comfortable.

Everything that Becky W said is SPOT ON! If you watch the crash test vids it is unbelievable the force little ones are subjected to while FF. While RF they barely move.

It is our job as parents to keep up with the latest research and findings to protect our little ones. The latest research, findings and recommendations from the AAP are to keep them RF until a minimum of age 2. It is *never* insane to do the right thing to keep your child safe.

I absolutely hate it when I hear "oh, our grandparents did ______ and they survived just fine". Well sure, *your* grandparents survived but what about the children that didn't survive? We have amazing access to information to keep our little ones safe. It's our job to use it.

Bottom line-You'll never regret doing the right thing for your child.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

The first thing you should check on is the law in the state where you live. Every state has its own laws regarding when a child can be in a front-facing configuration. (Some have minimum weight restrictions, some have age restrictions, some have both.)

In the state of Illinois, there are NO set weight or age requirements for rear-facing or front-facing. The law simply states that a child must be "properly restrained." So it is NOT illegal to turn him around in the state of Illinois.

This is the link to the Illinois State Police website with info on the Illinois "Child Passenger Protection Act"

After ensuring that you are following the law, the choice is up to you. So much recent research and testing has shown that children are *significantly* safer in rear-facing configuration. The American Academy of Pediatrics has its own recommendation based upon age (age 2??) -- you may want to google this and check the AAP website so that you have the most accurate information.

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answers from Boston on

No you can't it's illegal to turn him around. You should rear face until 2 I'd rather a crying baby that hates his seat then one internally decapitated from forward facing too soon.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Rear facing til 2.
Take your car, your son and your seat to a local FREE inspection site near you. You can find a place on the National Highway Safety website. A 30 minute appointment could save his life, as 75% of seats are either used or installed INcorrectly.

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answers from Seattle on

Which convertible seat do you have? Some are truly more padded and comfortable than others. And it is a good idea to check how far it's reclining, and have it checked at the police or fire station. My daughters sat rear facing in super safe, super comfy britax marathons until they were 30 and 26 months old! And they were both at 20lbs by 6 months old! It truly is safest and what is now recommended.

Sometimes kids just don't like the car, or their position hurts their tummies, belt is too tight/too loose/too high/too low, etc. It doesn't always get better once they're forward facing, especially when they figure out they can now throw things at mommy!

You can't know whether a 10month old was uninjured in a car accident, especially a high speed one from the rear! Watch the videos about rear facing for extended periods please everyone! We were in a t-bone collision when my daughter was 13 months. She seemed "fine" but my craniosacral therapist said she definitely had some adhesions where her seatbelt had been, and she truly slept and ate better after she worked on her just twice. And the at fault insurance gave her a pretty high settlement amount "just in case" there are future problems since they can't tell you what hurts. Spinal problems especially left uncorrected can lead to pretty serious problems later in life! Nothing to me is worth the chance of this..

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answers from San Francisco on

Yeah, my older daughter was turned forward-facing at 9 months (22 lbs and already walking) because she screamed from the moment she was placed in her car seat until the moment we took her out. One time we were on a road trip to visit my parents and she screamed for 4 HOURS WITHOUT STOPPING! I wanted to stab myself in the ear with a fork. Finally I pulled over by the side of the freeway, turned her car seat around, and strapped her back in. She stopped crying and was as happy as she could be. Actually we were in an awful car accident a month later (rear-ended by a guy going 70 in a full-sized pickup) and we all walked away without a scratch. Soooo... it worked out fine for us. I know now they want you to have them rear-facing until they're going into Kindergarten, practically, but it didn't work out so well for us! LOL

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answers from Phoenix on

I heard that it's the age not the weight. Their necks aren't strong enough in a head on collision. Plus, my son hated his car seat and turning him forward facing didn't help. He just hates being strapped down.

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answers from San Francisco on

Your child has to be BOTH 20 pounds AND 1 years old to be in a forward facing carseat. I would suggest getting a britex so that your child stay rear-facing a lot longer and its a very safe brand. GL


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answers from Chicago on

Ditto to the other answers urging you to keep him rear-facing as long as possible.
At this point I don't think it's legal anyway - minimum of one year, although that might be longer now, I think I read something recently where that limit was updated for the child's safety. Google Joel's Journey, google 'extended rear-facing', and watch you-tube videos on 'extended rear-facing'. Seriously, read up on it and learn about it.
Rear-facing is far far safer. Your child may not like the car seat, and possibly rear-facing has something to do with it, but his safety, health, and life, is the highest priority while in the car, not how much he enjoys it.
Good luck, and I hope that there are other creative ways you can come up with that will help him enjoy the car rides more.
My son is almost 2 (still rear-facing!), and I have a soft-sided mirror, and he likes flipping through books, he has some soft toys, and we also play kiddie music if he gets antsy. And if he's bored or upset (on longer drives) at least I know he's safe. If it's a long drive, often I will go in the back seat to keep him company while my husband drives, or vice-versa.

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answers from Detroit on

Candice is right. The neck muscles aren't strong enough - if he was in an accident - until 1 year to be forward facing.

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answers from Phoenix on

20 pounds AND 1 year, not whichever is first. I would leave em rear facing past that if he fits. We wanted to leave my youngest rear facing longer, but his legs were SO uncomfortable looking, we had to put him ff. Just leave em rear facing as long as possible for the most safety.

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answers from Chicago on

According to my pediatrician the law in IL is 20 lbs AND 1 year FF (in any car seat - infant or convertible) can turn them around after they meet both of those requirements, but they recommend waiting to turn FF until age 2 because of the spinal column (like everyone else said - it isn't formed enough and/or strong enough to withstand a crash FF, they are better protected RF). That said, I'm not certain what to do once my LO turns 1...she already weighs 23 lbs & is 10 months (she's been over 20 lbs since 6 1/2 mos)...she does not like her infant seat anymore because her shoulders are too wide for it so she is uncomfortable, but she also doesn't like her convertible seat RF because her head slumps forward when she sleep (she is reclined all the way & it is installed correctly), plus the car it is in makes it impossible to have any passengers (besides her) because the front passenger seat is way too close to the dash making that person too close to the airbag and then there is little leg room behind the driver...I'm completely torn (I want to do what's right for her too)...

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answers from Dallas on

The new recommendation is until they are at least 2 yrs (or older if they still meet the height & weight limits of their seat). I would read the weight & requirements on your current seat & talk to your pedi. IMO I would wait. I say better safe than sorry.
Just because a recommendation, treatment, study, or viewpoint is changed, doesn't mean "those people" don't know what they are talking about. As new research is done & real life situations happen, more information becomes available allowing those things to be adjusted or improved.
Also, as conditions change (i.e. faster speed limits, fiberglass instead of steel cars, & drivers that are more distracted & less concerned about those around them) recommendations are adjusted to take such changes into consideration.
I would ask yourself this...if you had an accident & your child was seriously injured or killed because of how he was seated in the car, would not having him scream about his car seat be worth it? What are going to do when he doesn't like wearing a seatbelt or getting vaccines?

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answers from New York on

check with your state DMV, they will be the final authority on what is legal. the new recommendation is 2 years rear facing. perhaps you can get some mirrors in place so he might see you, if you think that would help.

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answers from Chicago on

with these many responses i would assume you have already been shown a crash test video of a child that is rear facing and one that is forward facing. if that alone didnt answer your question you may want to do more research......



answers from Anchorage on

by law they have to be 20 pounds and at least one year old. His neck is not strong enough. You can buy seats that are good up to 40 pounds that work in both a rear facing and forward facing positions. Plus, the new guidelines (although not law) state that the longer you can keep them rear facing the better.

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