Foward Facing Car Seat????

Updated on February 27, 2009
M.S. asks from Chicago, IL
10 answers

hi moms
i wanted to know when should you change to a forward facing car seat.....should we just go by height and weight of car seat????

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answers from Chicago on

I put a link that can really help about car seat saftey. She works with The Car Seat Lady, Debbi Baer who is a renowned national expert in the field of child passenger safety

On this blog it tells about all different types of car seats and tells you the height and weight for each one, which is pretty cool.

I was always told rear face for as long as you can. In Sweden the children seat rear facing up until five.

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answers from Chicago on

You should wait until the child is 12 months AND 20 pounds, not either or. This is because at 12 months, their bodies have been able to grow and can withstand a little more impact if there were an accident, and 20 pounds or over is kind of the same concept. Anything under 20 pounds doesn't give the baby enough strength to be able to withstand the impact. I received emails from my newsletters that told me all about it. So maybe if you have more questions, you could refer to that website.



answers from Chicago on

Please wait as long as you can to change your child to front-facing. The longer you wait, the more time you give your child's head, neck and spinal cord to fully develop...and the safer your child will be.

However, 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.

Here's the actual wording from the State of Illinois:

Infants and Toddlers

Illinois law requires all children to be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat until age eight. After age eight, Illinois law requires everyone under the age of 19 to be properly restrained anywhere in the vehicle. Currently, Illinois law does not require children to ride rear-facing to a set weight or age like some states. Illinois law does require that all children be properly restrained in child safety seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA strongly recommend that children stay rear-facing until they are BOTH over one year of age AND over 20 pounds to protect their fragile head, neck, and spinal cord.

More information on infant child safety seat safety
More information on forward-facing child safety seat safety
Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act

For more information regarding the state of Illinois car seat laws and guidelines, visit:



answers from Chicago on

You can turn them when they are both 20 pounds and one year old. It is actually safer to leave them rear-facing longer. Something about the way their spine reacts to the impact of a collision and the way the car seat protects them. They can really rear face as long as they are small enough to be comfortable that way. Most seats have a particular limit so check what your seat says. I think ours (Britax Marathon) is 35 pounds rear facing and 65 pounds front facing but they're all different.



answers from Rockford on

You should always go by at least the bare minimums of the seat you are using. Even if the law isn't specific, there isn't a carseat out there that says you can use it forward facing before a child turns a year. The crash test data just shows that a younger/smaller child's head is just too large in proportion to their body to safely withstand crash forces. A child has outgrown a rear facing seat when either there is less than one inch of hard plastic shell above his head (don't worry about feet hanging over) or they have reached the weight limit. Also, be aware that some seats have other minimums for forward facing. Seats made by Cosco, Safety First, Eddie Bauer (all made by the same company) have bare minimums for height for forward facing. We have a Cosco Scenera and it states that the child has to be at least 1 year, 22lbs, and 34 inches tall before using the seat forward facing. My average daughter was nearly 2 before she made that height minimum though she met the weight min a few months prior.



answers from St. Louis on

According to car seat safety experts never turn a car sear forward facing until 1 year old and 20 lbs. They say that before age 1 a child's spine isn't strong enough to be forward facing and that there could be serious spinal injury if forward facing. I waited until my son reached both markers to turn his seat.
Since you mention height and weight I'm wondering if you're still using the carrier type seat that snaps onto a base. If so stop using this seat when you son's height and weight reach the restrictions on the seat. I mistakenly thought the carrier would last until his 1st birthday, in actuality he was almost at the height and weight limits on the carrier at his 6 month birthday. So at that point we bought a convertible car seat that could be used rear facing.
Our seat will accomodate from 6-50 lbs so we should be able to use it for quite some time. I went this route because it's what the Co. Helth Dept as well as Illinois State Police car seat inspectors recommeded.



answers from Peoria on

You should wait as long as you can. The "usual" age is 1 year and 20 lbs. That is what our ped. told us. That being said each child IS different. We used to spend alot of time in the car when my kids were young (about 4 to 4 1/2 hours/day Monday-saturday.) When my daughter was about 9 or 10 months old she learned how to get herself loose in her carrier seat no matter what I did. There was even one time I had to pull the car over because she was screaming and when I looked back she had twisted herself almost completely over with one strap around her neck. After that I changed seats and moved her to a front facing. With my son I didn't have that problem, so he was 1 year when we turned him. The only problem we had with him was he didn't want to face backwards, he wanted to see everything in front of him and he wanted to be like his older sister.



answers from Chicago on

To the rear for a year! Also, he needs to be 20 pounds (like the previous poster said) before you switch to forward-facing even if he is over a year.



answers from Springfield on

From everything I and my husband have read, the 20 lbs./1 year guideline is outdated. Kids should be rear-facing as long as possible, even up to the weight limits of their seats. So don't rush to turn your kids around!



answers from Peoria on

You have to wait until your child is at least a year. Most people switch then, but it is still safer for your child to be rear facing for as long as possible. Check the weight requirements on your seat, and switch him when he outgrows it.

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