Rear Facing Until 33 Lbs?

Updated on March 13, 2008
J.A. asks from Overland Park, KS
5 answers

I went to the OP Police Department last week fully intending on turning my twins car seats forward facing. Both boys are 12 months and 22 pounds. Once I got there, the police officers were VERY VERY adamant that children should NOT be turned around until closer to 33lbs. The both made sure to tell me I was within my legal right to turn the forward facing as the minimum is 20lbs and 1 year old. I guess this is the MINIUMUM requirement, no the recommendation. I called my brother-in-law who is a Federal Firefighter in Ft. Riley and also does car seat installs. He also agreed this is the new recommendation... rear facing until 33lbs. Why am I just hearing about this? Anyone else know of this new recommendation? Is it over the top? Of course, I left them rear facing for now. Of course it’s a bit inconvenient for me, but not a chance I’m willing to take just yet. Any thoughts?

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answers from Kansas City on

Definitely NOT over the top. I recall you posting asking about car seat inspections a while back... I posted this info there, so sorry that I'm repeating myself. 1 year and 20 lbs is the minimum, but the AAP and safety officials recommend to keep them rear-facing for as long as possible. Here are a few links to more info about why extended rear-facing is best: and

I don't consider it an inconvenience when it comes to safety. My daughter is 14 mos and over 20 lbs. I plan on keeping her rear facing for quite a while longer... as long as her car seat will hold her rear facing. Check your car seat specs, and try to leave them rear facing for as long as your seats are capable.

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answers from Kansas City on

Think about a bowling ball on top of a flower stem. That is what a childs head is like in an accident.

If you turn them around forward facing too early, their neck snaps in a traffic accident.

Some countries laws (like Switzerland) require children to be rear facing until 35 pounds and I think 3 years old. I went to Bud Brown Chrysler to get advice on what to do with my son as I was concerned about his safety. They were awesome with their advice and support.

I have a child with motor disabilities that we kept rear facing until he didn't have anyplace to put his feet, knees, legs. It was just so much safer until he had the upper body strength and control to support his head and neck in an accident. I can't remember his weight or age. He was over 3 and around 35 pounds.

We have an Alpha Omega that provided additional growth space. He is 7 yo now so there is a very good possibility that other car seats support longer rear facing options. You really need one that supports the height of an older child otherwise their little legs don't have any where to go.

The infant mortality during traffic accidents in the US is (I think 50%). In Switzerland, it is much lower. I can't remember the figures. But, it really is much safer.

You can look up stats by country and see their laws about car seat safety, too.

Good luck. Please don't get in a hurry to turn your children around.

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answers from Kansas City on

Wow! I never heard of waiting this the child is 33 pds. My son is going to be 9 months old tomorrow and he weighs 20 pds. now. I bought him a face forward seat for when he's 22 pds. and over a year old too. It said that the baby needs to be 22 pds. to start riding in it. (from Walmart). I would think what the cop is saying is always good advise. It probably wouldn't hurt to be in a rear facing seat longer. (sounds safer). I'm just concerned of the straps fitting on your boys or any other babies. Especially for over 30 pound babies. My advise I guess is continue with the rear facing seat until your boys are 33 pnds. or can't fit in it. (whichever comes first). It definenately won't be safe if it's way too tight or too small. I think I'll follow this advise too with my son instead of starting him in the face forward seat at 22 pnds. or over when he's a year old. Well, God bless you and your family and I hope for the best for you guys.



answers from Kansas City on

Well, when Emme was 10.5 months old we went to the doctor for something and she noticed that Emme was extra tall. She told me then to turn her around because it's just as much of a risk to have a baby that is too big for their carseat and still turned facing back as is one that is facing forward and still a tiny bit too small. Did that even make sense? Haha. But, that's what she told me and I did have a friend at church who was told the same thing from another doctor. You need to do whats most comforting for you though. But yes, 33 pounds does seem a little large. Emme is 2 and barely weighs 23 so I can't imagine how long it'll be before she would weigh 33. Yeesh!



answers from Kansas City on

It is really supposed to be much better to have them rear-facing if you are in an accident. That way their heads are pushed up against the seat back instead of the neck (which is still so little) taking all of the force going forwards un-supported.
I didn't know this information with my older two, but I think I'm going to leave my youngest facing backwards until I think that the stress I'm under from his screaming (they're often so much happier facing forwards!) is likely to cause an accident!

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