Updated at: 31-10-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

When should infants and young children be transferred to the next car seat? Your child should move from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat as they get older. If the child is above two years old or meets the seat’s height/weight requirements, they will need to switch to the next level of seating.

There are also booster seats, which can be used until the child reaches 100 pounds, and convertible car seats, which can be used in either the rear-facing or forward-facing position.

Before setting out on the road, check that these devices are placed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as well as all other safety equipment in your vehicle. Keep in mind that delaying the return of a car seat that isn’t properly installed can increase the risk of an accident that wasn’t necessary.

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Please contact the police or fire department in your area if you have any queries. With their assistance, you can rest assured that your child’s car seat will be installed properly.

When to get a convertible car seat

Consider your child’s age and weight before purchasing a convertible car seat. The parent can then decide whether or not an infant or toddler version is more appropriate.

Some models can be used from birth up until the child is five years old, when rear-facing bans are eliminated in most areas across the United States, so you may want to think about how long you plan on using it.

Parents should familiarize themselves with the rules in their home states to avoid fines and the risk of injury to their children caused by using a car seat that does not meet safety standards or that has been placed improperly.

When can I flip my toddler’s car seat?

The time has come to switch your child to a forward-facing car seat. Some states require 20 pounds of weight or 30 inches of height before switching from a rear-facing to front-facing seat, while others allow the switch as early as one year old.

If you have any doubts about whether or not to switch your child’s carseat around, you should consult with the child’s doctor. Talk to a professional if you’re worried that they’re too young or too small for the role (a doctor who specializes in kids would work best).

Even if you have to wait longer than intended, they will be able to let you know when it’s finally time. There is always the potential that kids will outgrow their rear-facing chairs before they reach the forward-facing stage.

How long do babies stay in infant car seats?

An infant will spend anywhere from six months to a year in a carseat, so it’s important to have one that will hold up. Injuries from accidents can be avoided in this way.

When should I switch my baby to a convertible car seat?

When your baby outgrows their car seat, both in terms of height and weight, it’s time to upgrade to a different model. Most convertible seats weigh no more than twenty pounds and measure no more than twenty-eight inches in length.

If your kid is on the larger size, they may reach these milestones as early as six months. Even if your firstborn isn’t sleeping through the night, you can confidently upgrade their car seat once they reach that age.

Some parents even keep their babies in an infant carrier past the age of two because they believe it is better to be cautious than sorry.

A child should no longer ride in an infant car seat after they reach the age of two unless they are still under the height and weight limits for that seat. When your child reaches four years old or 40 pounds, you should move them out of a toddler car seat (whichever comes first).

Why Is a Rear-Facing Seat the Gold Standard?

Parents need to know what happens in an accident before they can fully grasp the need of keeping their children in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible. Dr. Hoffman, who is also a trained child passenger safety technician teacher, adds that even a car traveling 30 miles per hour may toss a child weighing 10 pounds with the force of around 450 pounds of momentum in a collision. He uses the example of dropping a 10-pound bowling ball from a third-story window to illustrate the point that the ball will have around 40% additional momentum after impact.

All that energy must be channeled somewhere, and we must ensure that it is channeled in a way that safeguards the individual, he argues. A child’s safety in a car accident can be greatly enhanced by using a seat belt since it distributes impact forces across a larger surface area. The child is forced into the seat and the impact is dispersed from head to toe in a rear-facing car seat, which is why it is recommended.

The amount of protected area provided by a front-facing car seat (often a five-point harness) is significantly reduced. The “enormous wiggly-woggly head” of a baby is not as well protected as it would be in a rear-facing seat.

Injury to the head and neck is possible for an adult whose head and neck are thrown forward in a collision. The same kind of carnage for a kid… More force will be applied to the head than in an adult, Dr. Hoffman warns. A catastrophic injury to the head, neck, or spine is more likely to occur in a child than in an adult.

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Types of Rear-Facing Car Seats

Want to know when you should make the transition to a front facing stance? Which car seat you need is dependant on your individual circumstances. Manufacturer-specific height and weight restrictions designate whether a car seat is intended for rear- or front-facing use. (These regulations are not age-dependent.)

The type of rear-facing seat a parent purchases will also determine the maximum allowable weight and length. According to Dr. Hoffman, there are two types of car seats that can be turned around to face the backseat. According to Dr. Hoffman, there is no difference in safety between the two types of car seats; nonetheless, the two are designed differently and offer various benefits.

In general, Dr. Hoffman recommends keeping children under 30 pounds and under 30 inches in length in rear-facing only seats. The ease with which they may be removed from the vehicle and reattached to a stroller base has made them a popular choice among parents.

Convertible car seats can be installed in a rear-facing orientation first, then turned around to face the front of the vehicle. Dr. Hoffman explains that almost all rear-facing convertible seats have weight limits of 40 pounds and length limits of more than 40 inches for safe use. Thus, they can be utilized in the rear-facing position for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, they cannot be removed from the base while in transit.

How to Pick the Right Car Seat or Booster for Your Child

A child’s age is one consideration when choosing a car seat or booster for them, but it is not the only one. Finding the proper size for a child also depends on the child’s height and weight. Don’t worry yourself too much with the figures. Young people develop at various rates. Making the most risk-averse decision is crucial.

Here are some recommendations for how to use a car safety seat properly for children of different ages.


Between the time of birth and around two months, a baby is termed a newborn. Your initial car seat should be a rear-facing infant seat. In order to ensure maximum protection for your child, you should get a rear-facing model.

The recommendation of Parents.com is to use this type of car seat for infants weighing 20 to 22 pounds. Make sure your baby’s head fits snugly within the top of the car seat, no more than an inch over the seat’s top.


Your newborn is considered an infant after the first two months. About a year of age is considered to be infancy. A rear-facing convertible car seat is ideal for a child of this age. Parents.com recommends using a convertible car seat for youngsters up to 35 pounds. Depending on how quickly your child develops, this could mean that the convertible option serves your family well until your child is two years old.

A convertible car seat that faces backwards can be used for infants. Too. While rear-facing seats that aren’t convertible are best for newborns, convertible seats can grow with your child. A convertible car seat is a good option for new parents because it may be used for longer than a standard one.

Make sure there is at least an inch of space between your child’s head and the top of the car seat if you choose for the latter.


Between the ages of one and three, young children are classified as toddlers. It’s possible that a new kind of car seat is required for children of this age. Your child has outgrown the rear-facing car seat options and should be moved to a forward-facing car seat.

Your youngster may ride safely and securely in a forward-facing model thanks to the harness. This sort of car seat is appropriate for children weighing 40 to 60 pounds, as stated by Parents.com.

You should think about getting a combined forward-facing seat if your child is growing at a rapid rate (which many of them are). Child passengers up to 40 pounds can use this as a car seat. The harness can be removed at that point, turning the seat into a booster seat. According to Parents.com, children weighing up to 80 pounds can safely ride in the booster seat with the vehicle’s seatbelt.

In this case, too, the criterion of height applies. It is important to provide at least an inch of space between the top of the car seat and your child’s head.

When does my child no longer fit in their car seat? Be sure to double-check the car seat’s height and weight limits with the manufacturer. If you have access to your child’s growth charts, compare the two. Either you or your child’s pediatrician can maintain tabs on progress. If your child’s use has beyond the recommended settings, it’s time to consider an upgrade.


When children leave the toddler years behind, they enter the preschool years (ages 3-5), and subsequently the middle childhood years (ages 6-11). During those years, automobile safety is still vital. Typically, a child should switch to a booster seat once they reach preschool age. But keep in mind that age is merely a number and not a fixed rule.

Predicting When to Switch to a Booster Seat? Inquire: “Is my child too big for a car seat?” The moment has come to upgrade to a booster seat if your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat due to their height or weight.

Booster seats with belt positioning mechanisms allow for a customized fit of the vehicle’s seatbelts (lap or shoulder, depending on your preference) for your child. The booster’s functionality will be determined by the specifications of your vehicle. Is there a backrest on the seat the booster will be used in? A backless booster is an option if this describes your situation. You should acquire a high-back booster if the car seat your child is using does not have a headrest.

Rear Facing Car Seat for Your Child: Guidelines & Safety Tips

Here are some tips from Healthy Children.org to consider if you’re wondering, “Is my child too big for a booster seat?”

  • Once a child reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height, they no longer need a booster seat because the seatbelt will correctly fit them.
  • Between the ages of 8 and 12, most children have grown to an appropriate height for using only a seatbelt.

To ensure that you are using the correct vehicle safety seat for your child, check the rear of the seat. The shelf life of many later versions is indicated on the reverse. According to SaferCar.gov, this number is typically between six and eight years after the vehicle was first produced. This guarantees that the seat conforms to all current safety standards.

It’s important for parents to check the expiration dates on any car seats they plan to use for more than one child. In the event that your child’s seat has “expired,” it may be time to purchase a new one.

However, there are other measures you may take to ensure the safety of your children once they have outgrown the booster seat. For instance, it’s often recommended that kids wait until they’re at least 13 years old before letting them sit up front.

How long do babies stay in infant car seats?

Some parents may be tempted to keep their baby in an infant carrier until the child is able to sit up alone. However, you should know that the American Academy of Pediatrics advises keeping your child rear-facing until at least age 2, and even later if turning them around is difficult.

Never turn a child over the age of three toward the front of a vehicle, as this increases his risk of injury in the event of an accident.

Since some companies have started selling convertible car seats with built-in seven-point harnesses, which are not intended for children under 40 pounds and typically require the seat forward-facing before being able to undo the buckle strap, this is likely to happen more frequently.