How Do You Know When Your Baby Has Outgrown His Infant Car Seat?

Updated on January 11, 2009
L.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
7 answers

Hi Wise Moms,

I'm a first time mom and don't have many mom friends so forgive me if this is a silly question. How do we know if our 7 month old son is outgrowing his infant car sea?. (We're not actually even sure it's an infant seat -- we got it at a garage sale.) He's 18 lbs now and 27 and a half inches. His feet do dangle a little off the edge. We use the carseat both in the car and with our snap and go to make it into a stroller. Do we now need separate strollers and car seats for him? So confused! thanks, moms. If we do, what's a not too expensive and really light stroller and car seat to look into?

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answers from Honolulu on

First of all, you should never buy a car seat second hand unless you get it from someone you know. It is recommended you buy a new one (they actually "expire" after a while) - it is well worth the extra money for the peace at mind knowing that it has never been in an accident or been recalled.
You need to make sure that your car seat is ok for an infant. Also, you need to have a seat that can go rear facing until he's at least 1 year old AND 20lbs - and actually, the longer you can keep him rear facing the better! The car seat instructions should tell you the weight and height limit for the rear facing position and only once baby exceeds that you should switch it to front facing (if it CAN go front facing -if not you'll need a new one that can. Some seat are good for both position, some are just for front facing, some are only rear facing...)
If you want a separate car seat and stroller or not is up to you - it's all in your preference.
Be sure to do your research and make sure you have the right car seat for your son and your car, and that it is properly installed - it is for your son's safety!



answers from Los Angeles on

You don't turn them forward facing at a year old. You turn them forward facing at one year old AND 20lbs. Both need to be met. Rear facing is the safest however, so try to keep your little guy in a rear facing seat for as long as possible.

As for when he outgrows his current seat, like the others said - look it up online per your model. Go to their website. There will be a limit in inches. Once he has reached that limit (doesn't matter if his legs are over the edge right now, most babies are) go by what the manual says. Also, it wouldn't hurt to check to see how old the seat is that you are currently using. The date it was made is on the bottom somewhere. Seats expire in 6 years, earlier if they were in an accident.

You'll probably purchase a rear facing convertible carseat next, this one will not come out like an infant carrier and fit in to a stroller. So, yea, you'll need a stroller with a seat once you purchase your next carseat.

Try Craigslist for used strollers. I'd purchase a carseat new if I were you. The investment is worth the money.

Best wishes,



answers from Los Angeles on

Is there any kind of name or label on the car seat. They all have different weight limits. If you can find a brand name or label I would look it up online.

Sounds like you might need to graduate to a rear facing car seat. You can turn them forward facing at a year old.

Once you graduate to a bigger rear facing upright seat the seat stays in the car and can no longer snap into a stroller.

I would recommend an unmbrella stroller. You can find them for about $15-20. They are pretty small and light weight

Good luck



answers from Las Vegas on

If I remember correctly, they are rear facing until 1 years old. In any event, check the labeling or go on line for that model and manufacturer and find out. Otherwise, buy him a new seat that you know fits him. As well, you may be able to pull into a fire station and ask, but I am sure they will have to look at the labeling, as each seat is different.

As for the expense, I believe you should be able to pick something new up at a Kmart for about $40 - $45, worth the price. Otherwise, you can look on craigslist, but make sure the label is in tact.

Thought I would take a look at the California Public Safety guidelines.



answers from Los Angeles on

your son is big for his age. my daughter was that big at 10 months. we switched my daughter into a front facer at this time. though the state requires them to be 1 year and 22lbs. what you may look into is getting a convertable carseat. we have a cosco alpha omega elite. it goes from 5-100lbs and youll never need another carseat. its like 160 bucks and a little bulky in size but very nice and comfortable. a nice light weight stroller is a cosco juvinile srtoller i also own one of these. i would recamend getting a convertable carseat so you can keep him rear facing for a few mor months atleast. also fyi its not good to get a used carseat from a yard sale because you dont know if its recalled or if its been in an auto accident. good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

As other Mamas have said, it is required that the baby stay rear facing until they are 1 year and at least 22 pounds.

I am due with my second in the beginning of April, and still have my 4 year old's infant car seat. I'm not positive if it has "expired" or not, but this is what we are going to do. We are going to keep my 4oy's infant car seat in the car with us, but not use it while we are driving. We are getting a convertible car seat to use from day one. When we want to use the infant car seat with our stroller, we are going to just transfer the baby into my 4yo's seat, then put it in the stroller.

This scenario might work for you as well. That was you can still use your snap n go for a while longer, and only have to purchase a convertible car seat now, and wait on getting a new stroller until your son completely outgrows the infant car seat.

As far as strollers are concerned. I would consider buying a Maclaren stroller. They are very lightweight and can be used up to 55 pounds. They fold like an umbrella stroller and take up very little room in the trunk. The only downside is that they can be a bit pricey, they range from $100 to $350 depending on the type you get.

Good luck!!




answers from San Diego on

Yes, double check the weight limit on line, but I remember switching our DS to a rear facing at about the same age.

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