But My Childs Convertible Car Seat Only Goes To 20 Or 22 Pounds Rear
Your car seat is confusing you! Really! All convertible seats on the market in the US have for many, many years allowed rear-facing until at least 30 pounds, with most going to 40 or more pounds rear-facing. However, the labels on the car seat confuse many families, leading them to think a child must be forward-facing starting at 22 lbs.
Why? Because our government requires manufacturers to include some exceptionally confusing wording on the labels of every convertible car seat . The sentence that confuses most people is Use only in a rear-facing position when using it with an infant weighing less than 20 lbs. What this sentence is trying to say, is that for kids who weigh less than 20 lbs. the only direction you are allowed to install this car seat is rear-facing i.e. a child under 20 pounds may never ride forward-facing in this car seat. However, many people confuse this to mean that after 20 pounds you must turn the car seat forward-facing which is NOT what it is trying to say.
In another sentence, likely very close to where you found the confusing one, youll see the rear-facing maximum weight for your convertible seat, likely 40 pounds or even higher.
When Should Your Child Switch To A Forward
When is it the right time to turn your childs car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing? This question is one that troubles many caregivers and honestly, it can have a lot of answers. Keep reading below to find out what the good, better and best practices are when it comes to switching your child to a forward-facing car seat.
What Are The Car Seat Rules For Rear
You want your child to be happy, comfortable and safe when you travel in the car. We explain everything you need to know about the rear-facing car seat law and forward-facing car seat law so you’ll get it right.
Forward-facing car seat age
Many parents want to know the right age for a forward-facing car seat, but this is not as straightforward as it may seem. Legally, your child can travel in an ECE R44/04 approved car seat facing forward once they are 9 kg, which is approximately age nine months. But don’t be tempted to rush into making the switch. There are lots of good reasons why many parents choose to increase the age before facing their baby forward in a car seat.
Why is rearward-facing travel safest for babies and young children?
Children travelling forward-facing can be thrown forwards in a head-on collision. That puts stress on the fragile head and neck, which can lead to serious injury.
If your child is travelling rear-facing, the car seat spreads the forces across the whole back, protecting the delicate head and neck. As 70% of accidents are frontal collisions, it’s safest for children to travel rearward-facing until their muscles and bones have properly developed.
What is the i-Size rear-facing car seat law?
i-Size car seats meet the highest level safety standards. If you have chosen an i-Size car seat, your child must travel facing the rear until they are 15 months old by law.
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What Age Should A Child Have Their Own Room By Law
2 In the A-level recommendationthe Academy’s strongest evidence ratingthe AAP said that room-sharing should continue at least until the baby is 6 months old, ideally until 12 months. The 2017 study suggests that it may actually be better for babies to have their own rooms starting at the age of 4 months old.
What If They Reach The Car Seat Limit Before 2 Years
Once your child exceeds the weight and height limit of the infant car seat, its time to go out and buy a convertible car seat. These come with higher limits that can go up to 50 pounds rear-facing.
When it comes to height, most car seats recommend at least one inch of room between the top of the childs head and the top of the seat. This space ensures your childs head is safe in case of a crash.
If you have already switched your child to forward-facing before the recommended age, switch them back. This is exactly what I did when I found out about the recommendations while my toddler was already 2 years old. It gave me peace of mind to know that my child was safer.
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Best For Sleeping And High Back Booster: Maxi
Removable Pad is Machine Washable/Dryer Safe
This booster seat has a lot to love. Its narrow on the outside but still incredibly roomy in the seat, so its a good choice for either bigger kids or a crowded back seat. The lack of armrests saves room and also makes it safer since it eliminates the common risk of routing the lap belt over the armrests.
Parents appreciate that the seat can be secured in the back of the seat via rigid LATCH, keeping it stationary even when theres no kiddo sitting in it. With an exceptionally well-designed headrest, its great for dozing off during a ride.
Product Weight: 17.25 pounds | Dimensions: 28.5 x 17.75 x 15.2 inches | Age Recommendation: Not Listed | Weight Limit: 40 to 120 pounds
Only for Big Kids
The final step in car seat use is a backless booster which is used to help introduce your kiddo to using only a seatbelt in the backseat of your car. This seat is designed to accommodate a child weighing between 50 and 100 pounds and between 43 and 60 inches in height. Weighing just 1.8 pounds, this seat is easy to move from car to car, so its perfect for playdates or travel.
Narrow on the outside, roomy on the inside, the seat works for bigger kids or crowded back seats. The open-loop belt guides help kids know where to thread the seat belt, and these guides fold flat onto the seat when not in use.
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How To Keep Your Child Entertained While Rear
Rear-facing doesnt have to be boring! Older kids can ride quite upright so they can see out the side and rear windows. If theres a head rest blocking your childs view out the back window, you can usually remove it. By 9-12 months your baby knows youre there when you talk to them from the front even though they cant see you. So you can calm and entertain your child with songs, stories, and for older children games of I spy, all while theyre rear-facing.
Weve got lots of suggestions for great car seat & travel toys for babies & toddlers because sometimes we all get a little cranky when were bored!
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When To Switch From Infant Car Seat To A Convertible One
Car seats are essential for your child’s safety, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the most recent information about recommended usage guidelines.
While you may elect to use a convertible car seat from when your baby is born, most new parents choose an infant seat for their newborns. This is primarily because of the convenience infant car seats provide. However, it’s worth noting both are safe options so long as you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for that particular car seat.
Let’s explore the different types of car seats, how to use each option safely, and when it’s time to transition to a convertible seat.
Lack Of Evidence Of Leg Injury From Actual Crashes
There are ZERO documented cases of rear-facing children breaking their legs, hips, feet, etc., due to their feet touching the back of the vehicle seat. In fact, studies show that forward-facing kids suffer many more leg injuries than rear-facing kids. The leg injuries to forward-facing children occur when the childs legs fly up and hit the back of the front seat as the child and car seat are moving forward. This traps the childs legs, putting tremendous pressure into the leg bones. This pressure can break the legs.
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Children Are Built Differently
Dr. Segura points out that children are not just little adults. “Their bodies are differently proportioned and structured, and this difference affects their ability to tolerate the whiplash motion.”
The reason, she explains, is because a baby’s head makes up 25 percent of their body, whereas an adult’s head only makes up 6 percent. “A rear-facing baby, instead of pulling forward with four times as much force as an adult’s, will slide gently up into the back of car seat,” she adds.
Are People In Australia Worried About The Child Restraint Rules
Rear-facing is safer than forward-facing for children under the age of four.
Yes, there are people in Australia who feel strongly that were turning our children around too soon and when to change that, most notably the website which features some videos of crash-testing footage you probably wont want to watch, which compares rear and forward-facing seats.
The site also states: Rear-facing is safer than forward-facing for children under the age of four. This is largely due to the anatomy of a young child, combined with the forces placed upon their body in a crash.
Young children have heavy heads which are large in proportion to their bodies. The head of an infant makes up 25 per cent of their body weight, compared to the head of an adult which only makes up 6 per cent of their body weight.
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In a motor vehicle collision, everything inside the vehicle is thrown violently forwards upon impact, including the heads of all forward-facing occupants. Their bodies are restrained by seat belts, but their heads are unrestrained. The harness straps on children’s car seats hold their bodies back, however their heavy heads are thrown forwards with tremendous force.
When their heads are thrown forwards in a crash, all the force of the collision is placed upon the child’s immature, delicate spine. The soft bones in the neck of a young child are not developed enough to protect the spinal cord under such forces.
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Is 4 Too Old For A Crib
The ages for making this transition vary from family to family. With over 10 years of experience working with families, I recommend you try to wait until between 3 and 4 years old to transition from crib to bed. Typically, we here at The Baby Sleep Site® recommend that you don’t rush into making this transition.
What Type Of Car Seat Should I Use
Rear-facing car seat:
- All infants must use a rear-facing car seat. A rear-facing seat provides the best protection for your childs head, neck, and spine in a sudden stop or crash. Once your baby outgrows the infant seat, use a larger, rear-facing seat. As long as your child still fits within the manufacturers weight and height limits, they are safest using a rear-facing seat until 2, 3, or even 4 years old.
Forward-facing car seat:
- Once your child has outgrown the larger rear-facing car seat and is at least2 years old they can move to a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness. Keep your child in a 5-point harness until they weigh at least 18 kg and can sit straight and tall without moving out of position or unbuckling. This may be at 4, 5, or even 6 years old. If your child outgrows the seat before they can sit correctly, you may need a 5-point harness that will hold a taller, heavier child.
- When your child is at least 18 kg and at least 4 years old, and has outgrown their forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness, they may be ready to move to a belt-positioning booster seat. To safely use a booster seat, your child must be able to sit correctly. Keep your child in a booster seat until they safely fit the adult seat belt. For most children, this will be between 9 and 12 years old.
If your child cannot sit like this for the whole trip without slouching, continue to use a booster seat.
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Forward Facing Vs Rear Facing
The main purpose of car seats is to provide as much protection and comfort they can provide to your young child. But as soon as they grow, there are necessary changes that you are obligated to make.
If your child is at the age of 2 or 3 and is still using a rear facing convertible seat, but now you think it is time to make a change, well, there are certain things that you might want to be sure about.
The Federal Aviation Administration states that your child should be seated rear facing for as long as possible, which means that you do not have to make this change too soon, even if your child is above the age of 3. Here is more information.
It is also important for you to note that your child should be above the height and weight limits of the rear facing car seat so he/she can switch to forward facing car seat.
Rear Facing Car Seat
As I have mentioned earlier, all children from birth until they reach the weight and height limit of the car seat should be seated rear facing, according to the FAA. It does not particularly mean that once your child is 3, he/she should be moved to forward facing car seat.
If you are using an infant seat that is rear faced only, you must know that your child should be at least 30 to 40 pounds to fit in, and if your child is above the weight limit, you can move to a convertible rear facing car seat.
Forward Facing Car Seat
Why Your Baby Should Not Sit Forward
Lyndsey Garbi, MD, the chief of pediatrics of the telehealth platform Blueberry Pediatrics and a member of the Verywell Family review board, stresses that rear-facing car seats better protect young children, especially those two and under, from severe injuries.
Dr. Segura agrees, adding, ” consistently demonstrate fewer injuries to all body parts, including the head and spine, when kids ride rear-facing compared to forward-facing.”
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How Long Should My Child Remain In A Forward
Once your child has graduated to a forward-facing car seat, its recommended they remain in it until they reach the height and weight limit of their seat. This can be quite some time as forward-facing car seats can hold anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds depending on the model!
Its important to also keep in mind that even after your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat, they should still use a booster seat to ensure your cars seat belt system fits them properly.
Children arent ready to use the seatbelt alone until theyre around
How Do I Install A Forward
When it comes to the installation of a forward-facing car seat or booster seat, you want to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Just like infant seats or rear-facing car seats, every brand is different and has specific guidelines on how to install your car seat correctly for optimal safety of your precious cargo.
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What Other Rules Are There About Kids In Child Restraints
In NSW, it says children must kept in an approved restraint until they are four years old.
Obviously the first thing to remember is that proper installation is vital. Far too many people guess at how to install a seat, or a harness, and rear-facing seats in particular can be tricky. Get yours checked, or better yet installed, by an expert.
Specifically, in NSW, it says children must kept in an approved restraint until they are four years old. Children aged between 6 months and 4 years must be restrained in an approved rearward or forward-facing restraint. Once your child has outgrown their rearward-facing restraint they can be moved into a forward-facing restraint.
Its an interesting point about what age they might grow out of the rear-facing, baby-capsule-style child seat, but that doesnt mean you cant get a rear-facing one thats made for larger children.
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The next stage, in Victoria, NSW, everywhere in Australia, is from four to seven years, when, as VicRoads puts it, they must travel in a forward facing child restraint or a booster seat.
Children aged 7 years and older can use a child restraint, or an adult seatbelt, depending on their size.
Wont Their Legs Be Uncomfortable
The thing is, you may imagine your childs legs are squished in a rear-facing position. However, children are flexible, and this is the safest position for their legs. If your car crashes, forward-facing kids are at a much greater risk all around.
If they complain about the leg room, take a break and let them stretch. They may also enjoy crossing their legs or hanging them over the sides.
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When Should You Face Your Babys Car Seat Forward
In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations for car seat safety. As part of these recommendations, they removed their previous age-based recommendation that children remain rear facing in car seats until the age of 2.
The AAP now suggests that children remain rear facing until they reach their rear-facing car seats weight/height limits which, for most children, will leave them rear-facing beyond the previous age recommendation. This is based on research that rear-facing offers safer support for the head, neck, and back.
What does this mean for you? Well, until your child has met the weight/height limits of their rear-facing car seat AND met the requirements of any state laws, it is preferable to keep them rear facing. Once your child has reached the weight or height limits for their rear-facing seat likely sometime after age 3 theyre ready for forward facing.