Updated at: 10-05-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

Infant to toddler car seat: When do I switch? Up until they are two years old, children should ride in a rear-facing car seat, unless their convertible car seat specifies otherwise.

If your child complains of leg cramps when rear-facing, it’s time to switch to a forward-facing position.

But don’t worry, there’s no rush! To ensure a safe transfer from an infant car seat to a toddler car seat, adhere to the following five rules:

Make sure the child’s seat is facing backwards. – To ensure a secure fit, the harness straps should be placed at or below your child’s shoulders.

You don’t need any additional equipment to use your infant car seat when it comes to installing the base into the rear of an adult seat.

Lower anchors should be available on the new car seat model if you’re utilizing LATCH connectors (refer to the manual). If not, use only the top tether anchoring points until the child exceeds the maximum weight or height for convertible belt positioning booster mode.

To ensure that the upper tether anchor does not submerge under the lap part of the safety belt during a crash event, remove it fully. Using the bottom and top tethers together is not recommended.

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Do not turn them around to face forward until they are two years old or have reached the maximum weight limit for their car seat (rear-facing).

What are the requirements for a forward-facing car seat?

Until they reach the seat’s maximum weight and height limits, young children should ride in a forward-facing car seat. When a kid reaches the rear-facing height or weight limit of his or her convertible car seat, which can be as early as age two but no later than age four, it’s time to switch to a forward-facing car seat.

Because of a medical condition (such as muscular dystrophy) or a physical disability (such as cerebral palsy), your child’s pediatrician may allow him or her to remain in a strapped vehicle safety seat for as long as necessary.

Consult your kid’s pediatrician before allowing your youngster to ride in a car seat with only a lap belt once he or she has reached either of the previous stages.

When can I turn my Graco 4ever forward-facing?

As soon as your child has reached the age of two and is weighing in at a healthy weight of 22-65 pounds

How long do babies face backwards in the car?

Until the age of two, babies should ride in the backseat facing the rear of the automobile, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Can my 1-year-old sit in a front-facing car seat?

Yes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can ride in a forward-facing car seat until they are at least 20 pounds and one year old (AAP).

For this reason, it is preferable for children to face forward rather than face backward before they reach the age of two. Rear-facing seats protect your child’s head during an accident, however also places them closer to the point of impact in the event of an accident..

If an infant under the age of two is involved in an automobile accident, they fare better than if they were put into an adult seat belt or an infant car seat, according to a AAA research.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to keep their newborns in rear-facing convertible seats for as long as possible, up to the age of 12 months or until they outgrow the weight and height restrictions of the seat.

When can my child sit forward-facing?

When your child is at least 22 pounds, they can begin sitting forward facing. Also, at the age of one year, or when their shoulders reach the highest harness slots, whichever comes first.

Before putting them in a forward-facing seat with a harness, be sure they can sit straight for at least an hour without getting fatigued (or convertible car seat).

At roughly 18 months of age, it is normally okay to transition your child from their infant carrier to a convertible car seat; however, some parents prefer to upgrade their newborns directly from an infant carrier to a convertible car seat while they are still within its height constraints.

A convertible car seat can be recommended if your infant does not meet these weight criteria but is over 20 pounds. Check with your car seat manufacturer for further information.

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When to change the earliest from an infant carrier to a toddler seat?

For as long as feasible, we at BeSafe recommend that you use an infant carrier, as it gives you, as a parent, flexibility and provides excellent side protection for your baby. Consider switching to a toddler car seat sooner rather than later, though. Because toddler car seats are more upright and provide less support than infant carriers, we advise against switching to one until your child is old enough to sit up on his or her own.

Make that your child has attained the minimum height and weight requirements for the toddler seat you intend to purchase. This might either be a minimum weight requirement or a minimum height requirement, depending on the rule.

When to change the latest from an infant carrier to the toddler seat?

Step 1: Verify the seat’s weight and height restrictions.

If your infant carrier is ECE R44-04-approved, then the weight limit on your seat is set by the approval of your infant carrier. It is not permissible to lift anything heavier than this. As a result, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be able to use your baby carrier until your child reaches this maximum weight. Step 2 is the place to look for the answer to this.

This means that if your infant carrier is UN R129-approved, it has a limit height. No one should be able to climb higher than this limit at any point in time. In most cases, the highest point on the seat indicates the end of your ability to utilize it, but be sure to also check step 2!

Step 2: Verify the safety belts and the seat’s height.

It’s time to switch to a toddler seat when the top of the baby’s head is about 2 fingers from the seat shell’s highest point. Toddler seats should be on your shopping list well before your child reaches that age. A “buffer” for upward movement in the event of an accident is provided by a two-finger distance. If the seat belts aren’t all the way in, this kind of thing can happen. If the infant is moving around a lot or the parents are in a haste to get something done, it is possible that the belts aren’t properly fastened.

Make sure your baby’s shoulders are properly supported by the shoulder straps and follow the instructions in your car seat’s user guide for this as well. Most manufacturers recommend that the shoulder straps do not extend below the shoulders of your infant. When the headrest/belts are at their highest setting, and the shoulder belts are no longer lining up with the shoulders, it’s time for a change.

The toddler car seat is your child’s second car seat if you took the “traditional road” and already had an infant carrier. According to your child’s height and weight, it can be utilized from the age of six months up to the age of four years. UN R129 (i-Size) mandates that children remain rear-facing for at least 15 months, but we at BeSafe recommend that you maintain your child rear-facing until at least 4 years of age, if not longer. Rear-facing and forward-facing seats are available for several of the seats in this group.

What car seat should my child be in?

Car seats for infants and toddlers

Your newborn should be secured in a five-point harness in a rear-facing baby car seat as soon as you leave the hospital. You’ll find two straps that wrap over your child’s shoulders and a buckle that goes around their waist in a five-point harness. Two of the shoulders, two of the hips, and the area in between the legs make up the five points. Set up a rear-facing infant car seat in the backseat of your vehicle.

Dr. Mudd advises parents to get their child’s car seat tested by a nearby fire station or children’s hospital prior to their first automobile ride home from the hospital. In addition, it is a good idea to check out a YouTube video on how to properly install the car seat you intend to use. To ease parents’ anxieties about the first time they take their children home, make sure the car seat is set up correctly and ready to go ahead of time.

Car seats with a five-point harness can be either rear-facing-only or rear-facing-convertible.

When is it appropriate to use a forward-facing car seat? It’s not your age that matters here; it’s how much you weigh and how tall you are. Check your child’s car seat’s height and weight restrictions. 26 to 36 inches in length and 22 to 35 pounds are normal for rear-facing-only seats.

It is common for convertible car seats to have a larger maximum weight capacity. So that they may grow together with your child, they can be turned around to face forward when they’re ready.

A child’s weight and height typically fall within the acceptable ranges for rear-facing when they are at least 2 years old.” However, you should keep them as far back as possible while you’re working with them. Dr. Mudd advises patients to “aim for the maximum size allowed by the manufacturer.” Although your child may have reached the back seat of the automobile, it does not necessarily mean that you should continue on. Legs can be bent.”

Keep in mind that rear-facing is the safest position for your infant if you’re tempted to swap early. Front-end collisions are the most common cause of car accidents. Children’s heads, necks, and spines are protected because they push into the seat rather than away from it during a crash.”

Car seats for toddlers and preschoolers

Rear-facing car seats can be removed once your child has outgrown their height and weight limits. There’s no guarantee, though, that they’ll be able to use a simple car-buckle booster. Switching the rear-facing seat to forward mode is possible in many cases Alternatively, you can get a child car seat that faces forward and has a five-point harness.

Seats with a five-point harness that may be used for either forward-facing or rear-facing use are available.

You may choose to transition to a booster seat or nothing at all as your child gets older. However, Dr. Mudd recommends that you keep your child in a car seat as long as feasible. “Depending on the manufacturer, you may have to wait until your child weighs 65 pounds or more before making the switch.”

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Car seats for school-aged children

If your child has outgrown the forward-facing car seat’s five-point harness but is still able to fit in the seat, you can use the seat belt in your vehicle instead. This extends the life of the car seat for a short period of time.

Finally, the time has come for the booster seat! Your child’s forward-facing car seat should only be removed when they’ve outgrown the height and weight limits of the seat’s harness.

There’s a higher chance of being too early than being too late. According to Dr. Mudd, not all children are ready for a booster seat, even if they appear physically capable. Keep the forward-facing seat if your youngster can’t sit quietly or is an escape artist.”

Car seats with a five-point harness, front-facing convertibles, or boosters are all options for your child’s safety.

When your child is ready to graduate from a booster seat, look at how well the seat belt in your car fits. Seat belts should protect the occupant’s most vulnerable areas.

“Seat belts are sized to protect adults, not children, by carmakers.” This means that your child should be at least 4’9″ tall and between the ages of 8 and 12 before making the transfer, says Dr. Mudd. Children should remain in the backseat until they are at least 13 years old, though.”

When Should You Make the Switch?

A majority of babies are too tall to fit in an infant car seat even before they reach the weight restriction, especially in cars with 30+ pound weight limits. At least one inch must be removed from the seat’s top to determine whether a youngster is too tall for it. If you want to be sure your child is travelling in safety, you should get aware with the weight and height restrictions on your child’s car seat.

As soon as your baby reaches the required height or weight for their infant seat, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you switch to a rear-facing convertible seat. Even if a youngster is within the height and weight restrictions, it is not recommended that they utilize the seat (and vice versa also is not safe). When your child reaches a certain size, they are no longer a small child.

Most infant seats have a maximum height limit of 1 inch below the seat’s peak, but crash tests by Consumer Reports (CR) show that switching to a rear-facing convertible seat before that point may be preferable.

In CR’s crash testing with a 12-month-old dummy, they found that the risk of head damage is substantially larger in an infant seat than a rear-facing convertible seat—as the dummy impacted its head in more than half of the crashes in infant seats, but only 4% of the crashes while in a convertible seat. 1

The car seats of rear-facing children can be removed. More of the seat shell is visible above the head of a kid in a convertible seat. This means that their head will be less likely to hit something hard like the front seat back if they fall out of their seat.