For any parent, the most important thing is their child, and when you are traveling, be it’s an extended trip or a short one, the safety of your kid is your priority. For this reason, car seat manufacturers around the world put extreme thought and care while designing as well as testing kid’s car seats.
The most common question these manufacturers or child experts get is when can babies face forward in car? For new parents, this is a very serious question, one that torments them a lot. When your child is riding in a vehicle, his or her safety is your responsibility. Do you know that every year there are thousands of death of toddlers and infants alike due to this very reason? The impact of the crash, as well as the wrong position of the can seat, can be fatal. So, what is the answer to the question When can babies be forward-facing?
According to most experts and car seat manufacturers, the age when you should replace your rear seat with the front seat is two years. When your child is two years, you can change the rear-facing seat to a front-facing one.
But it’s not that simple, is it?
Since the market is full to brim with different models of car seats, parents are usually overwhelmed with the many choices available. We have some excellent news for parents who are expecting their first child and parents who are planning a long road trip with their kid. Between the delivery and now, you have enough time to understand and learn about the various types of car seats as well as know when can my toddler face forward.
All car seat models are categorized into two types. To know forward-facing car seat regulations, you first need to understand the two types of seats that are available in the market for infants and toddlers.
The Two Types of Baby Car Seats
1. For Infants and Toddlers
As per the safety guidelines, both infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats. How will you know when can a baby go in a forward-facing car seat? Well, as per the safety guidelines until your toddler reaches the highest weight and height allowed by the car safety seat manual. The instructions come with the seat as well as are published on the manufacturer’s website. The usual limit on convertible rear-facing seats is two years or more, but that depends on the toddler’s weight and height.
2. Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Forward-facing convertibles
- Forward-facing with harness
When your child reaches the age of two, you should replace the rear-facing seats with front-facing ones. The weight limit for a front-facing seat is up to 65 pounds or more; after that, you can switch to a booster.
When buying a new car seat, you must check out the car seat manual thoroughly. It has illustrations as well as an easy guide to help you understand as well as install the seat better.
Types of Forward-Facing Car Seat Restraints
There are four types of front-facing car seats for toddlers and preschoolers.
1. Rear-Facing Only
These bucket styled seats can’t be converted into front-facing seats. They are mostly used for newborns to toddlers. The biggest reason to buy these seats is that they come with a removable seat from the harness that is installed in the car. This way, your seat can also be adjusted in a staller or a pram. Rear-facing seats are best for parents who want to use their seat out of the car as well. They are also lightweight and easy to carry. Once the child reaches 35 pounds or 35 inches, you can move them to convertibles.
2. Convertible Seats
These are the best kinds, as they can turn in to rear and front-facing both. They are designed with all in one seat that you can easily convert as per your convenience. As soon as your kid reaches 40 to 50 pounds, you can switch the position of the seat and make it front-facing. Convertibles are designed with the weight and build of a child in mind. They remain installed in the car and can’t be used outside of the vehicle. You also have securing belt slots. There are usually five securing slots that cover both shoulders, hips, and the crotch area of the baby. Don’t miss to have a look on our curated list of top 10 affordable convertible car seats for toddlers.
3. Combination Seats or All-In-One Seat
Another type of combinations seat that can be converted are those that come with a safety harness. This harness is specially provided for kids who are above the weight of 45 to 65 pounds. This combination seat can also be used as a booster without the harness for kids who weight around 100 to 120 pounds. They are front-facing seats.
So, your all in one car seat converts into a rear and front-facing as well as a booster seat. You may think why to go for any other seat if you can buy the all-in-one seat. The catch is that you need to know how to convert as well as all the weight and height limits set by the manufacture for all positions.
4. Integrated Seats
There are many vehicles that come with integrated car seats, i.e., built-in car seats. However, these car seats are mostly front-facing, which is why they can’t be used for infants as well as toddlers who are under two years. Moreover, the height and the weight limit of these car seats vary.
5. Combination Seats
Combination seats can’t be used as rear-facing seats, they are best for the front-facing position, and they can also turn into booster seats that are used without a harness. The front-facing seats use five slots for belt securing, whereas the booster uses only two slots that cover the shoulder as well as the lap of the baby.
6. Booster Seats for Front-Facing
Many may answer the question, can my 1-year-old sit in a front-facing car seat? By saying that when they are old enough to sit in booster seats. But that’s not true. Booster seats are for kids who are four years or older. When you kids outgrow the forward-facing car seat with the 5-point harness, they can be sifted to a booster seat.
When you are switching to forward-facing from rear-facing, you will need a lot of adjustments. To make the switch seamless, here are some tips that will help you.
Forward-Facing Seats – Installation Tips
- The first thing that you need to do is to read the installation manual cover to cover. Many of us ignore the manual thinking. It’s unnecessary, but it has illustrations and an easy guide to help us understand the installment the easy way.
- The car safety seat, both front and rear-facing ones, should be tightly secured. Make sure the seat is secure, and your kid fits into it snugly.
- Rear-facing seats are safer than front-facing ones, so make sure your kid is old enough to be placed in a front-facing car seat.
How to switch the rear-facing seat to a forward-facing setting?
- Change the position of the harness to the slots that are at or above the child’s shoulders.
- To make sure you are correct, check the manual.
- Front-facing seats sit upright, so make sure you adjust the recliner when changing the position from rear to front.
- Switch from rear-facing belts to forward-facing belt path. Make sure your child is tight, and snug in his belt and the belt is not too tight to make him uncomfortable and impede breathing.
- You can also use a tether strap to hold the front-facing seat even tighter to your car seat.
No matter what your budget is or which one you go for, all seats, regardless of the price and model, are tested and pass through all safety requirements before hitting the market.
Here are the frequently asked questions related to when can a baby sit forward-facing in a car seat?
1. When can babies face forward in car or what age?
When your baby is at least two years old and is tall enough, you can put him in a front-facing car seat.
2. Should I put my one-year-old sit forward-facing because he isn’t comfortable in the rear faceting position?
The answer to this question is a huge NO. You can’t put your baby in danger because he is uncomfortable, use the mirror trick to calm your baby. Place a mirror in front of him so that he can see himself and you and stay calm in the rear-facing car seat.
The height, weight as well as age of your baby matters a lot when you are thinking to change his sitting position in the car. Every car seat manufacturer has a proper guideline and installment manual attached to their product. Gong through that manual will help you with any questions.