When Can Baby Face Forward In Car Seat?

For all the mommies out there, the safety of babies is of top priority. While they are young, they can easily fit into a rear-facing car seat. But once they grow up a little, they insist on seeing front-facing. You need to consider a few factors before you decide to shift from rear-facing to the front-facing car seat. About when can baby face forward in car seat, there are specific rules laid down by the government authorities to ensure the safety of your tiny tots. Keeping all this in mind, hereabouts, we have laid down a few primary points on when to turn car seat forward.

When To Turn Around The Car Seat?

When can baby face forward in car seat? It is a common question many parents ask. The answer is simple: all you have to do is understand the growth of your baby and buy the seat accordingly. And of course, do not ignore the local norms.

Are there laws about rear facing car seat age?

Yes, there are rules regarding when can baby face forward in car seat. There are local rules to car seat age limits based on your area of residence. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has an answer for you.

Previously, it was two years when you could turn them forward. Now, that is changed. A baby has to be in the rear-facing car seat until they surpass the weight and height limits established by the rear car seat’s manufacturer.

What about their legs? Isn’t it unsafe and/or uncomfortable?

You need to wait and know when can baby face forward in car seat. If the kids are uncomfortable because they can’t fit their legs, you should know that it’s not a health hazard. Kids are flexible, and they manage comfortably even in a limited area. Their body adjusts to car movement, and it will not harm them. They can fold their legs or spread them if they don’t fit properly. You can take breaks during your journey and let them relax if they find it too unbearable.  

What if a baby is unhappy riding rear-facing?

You can always distract a whining baby by offering them something else. The same formula works even in a car or when you are traveling.  Give them a toy that they can play with, put some shades up so that the sun won’t hit them or try to play some songs, and talk to them in a soothing voice. If you are on a long journey, try to find them some good company. Probably, a grandma who’ll keep talking to them or a friend who’ll crack some kid jokes. When you can’t do that, give them a cartoon to watch, but always be sure about when you can turn a car seat around. It is not when your child is unhappy.

What about kids who get motion sick?

Irrespective of the rear facing car seat age limit, kids end up feeling nauseous when they sit in these seats. To avoid that, help them relax or put them to sleep. Keep the temperature of the car low and cool. Do not feed them with heavy meals before the journey, and if you believe in home remedies, give them something good to smell. Don’t let them use gadgets as that can worsen the nauseous situation.

Why Is A Rear-Facing Car Seat Safer Than Forward-Facing?

When children are young, they are vulnerable, and any physical impact can quickly damage their bodies. When you are using a forward facing car seat, any impact will push the child forward, which means their neck is going to take the brutality. But, in case of rear facing position, the effect is evenly spread. The child is pushed back into the seat. The impact does not strain the neck and no severe damage to the body.  Consider all these reasons before you decide to switch them to forward-facing.   

What’s The Best Forward-Facing Car Seat?

You’ll have to figure out what’s best for the child the day you realize when can baby face forward in car seat. Though there are several models in the market, go for the ones that give you full harness and comfort. The chair has to be soft and not raise the body temperature of your child. It must secure their seating and reduce the impact of collisions. Based on your child’s weight, height, and age, there are several seat types you can choose from.

1. Best Infant Car Seat: Graco’s Snugride Snuglock 35 LX

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat

An infant car seat is specially designed for a newborn.  The position is rear facing and has a good harness to secure the baby within. The soft cushions of Graco’s Snugride Snuglock 35 LX infant car seat will keep the young ones comfortable. Even if your baby’s growth is too fast, this one will last for at least 20 months before your kid passes the weight and height limits.

2. Best Convertible Car Seat: Graco’s SlimFit

Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat

It is a slight upgrade after your child surpasses the Infant car stage. Once their height and weight are more than what the manufacturer mentioned, you can shift to a convertible car seat. You can use Graco’s SlimFit Convertible Car Seat as a rear-facing one and change it to a front face once the age for front facing car seat is reached. It has multiple benefits, so you don’t have to invest in car seats often.

3. Best All in 1 or 4 in 1 Car Seat: Graco’s 4Ever

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat

These seats are handy if you don’t want to purchase different seats for your kid as they grow. Graco’s 4Ever 4 in 1 Car Seat takes the seat game to another level. It can be used as a rear facing one, a front facing one, and two types of booster seats during the transition, which is adjustable and very economical for new parents. So it will stay with you until your kid learns to use the seat belt.

4. Best Booster Seat: Graco’s transition 3 in 1

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat

It is an excellent forward facing seat for older children. Once you’ve crossed the rear facing car seat stage, you can start using the booster seat. Kids who weigh around 40 pounds can use Graco’s transition 3 in 1 Harness Booster seat. It has a 5 point harness that keeps your kid safe. Once they can safely use seat belts, you can let it go.

5. Best Travel Systems: Safety 1st Smooth Ride

Safety 1st smooth ride travel system

A combination of a car seating system and a stroller is called a travel system. Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System with onBoard 35 Infant Car Seat is effortless to use. The easy fold and stretch action will make the transition quick. It is lightweight and convenient to carry around, and the seat has several reclining angles for comfort.  

Tips for Installation and Use

Now that you know when a baby can face forward in the car seat, you should also know some tips regarding installing the seat in the car.

Firstly, do not ignore the user manual. If you are new to this, you need to be thoroughly read it. Nothing can be worse than a wrongly installed car seat.

If you are installing a rear facing car seat, the harness should lie flat, and not twisted. It should be appropriately reclined and nicely secured. The position cannot move from side to side or from front and back.

The forward facing seats will come with a tether strap. You need to pay attention to this one. Fix it with the tether anchor and tightly secure it. It is imperative because mishaps in a front facing car seat can be drastic.

When you are tightening the straps around your child’s torso, be careful not to suffocate them. A mild pace is allowable. Probably, enough space to fit in your little finger. You need to place your child the right way in the seat, especially infants. If they are uncomfortable, they won’t be able to tell you, so be safe.

Here’s a guide to understanding how you can install the car seats:

Misconceptions about Rear Facing Car Seats

Every object or equipment has the good and bad sides. You need to weigh them accurately before deciding to make a purchase. While that is said, here are some answers for the commonly asked questions.

Q1. “We’re having two cars and cannot afford buying two expensive car seats”

You need to buy an extra base, and that will do the job for you. An additional support will help maintain a proper foundation for your car seat in any car you are using. They are available for both the front-facing and rear-facing ones. It is better to buy one single base instead of getting more than one seat for the two or three cars your family owns.

Q2. “We’re only going on short journeys with our car, so it feels unnecessary…”

It is not an excuse for not buying a car seat. Even if you are going to the other lane, you never know what’s going to happen. Even if you are driving safe, there might be someone else who is not. When the risk is high, you need to be careful no matter where, when, or how far you are traveling. The child’s body is fragile, and the impact may be too dangerous.

Q3. “Our car is too small for a big rear facing car seat”

In this case, it all narrows down to the installation. You can fix your rear-facing car seat with different leg spaces so that your child will feel comfortable, and the seat will also fit. However, they are supposed to be tight so that a hit won’t send it off its base, or your child won’t be thrown out of it. So, if you find it compact, that’s okay.

Q4. “My child could not see me and thus would feel uncomfortable”

You should make sure that your baby knows you are in the car. Instead of turning up the music, talk to them in a soothing and comforting tone. Maybe, tell them where you are going or sing along to the Disney songs.

You can even place reflection mirrors that will show your baby your presence. You can teach them to look out the window and enjoy the outside world so that they’ll be distracted. Give them a toy to play with if necessary. Avoid giving gadgets though.  

Final Words

When can a baby face forward in a car seat? It can be a very complicated question. Also, if you are a new parent and find yourself consumed in the unknown world of childcare, this might be stressful too.

You are never sure about the danger that might jump in from any direction. But the best you can do is try everything in your power to give the children proper travel care. Stick to the rules that your government laid down. Like the American Academy of Pediatrics stated, let the kids pass the weight and height limits of the car seat manufacturer.

Do not get swayed away by your child’s whining and shift them to the forward facing car seats. Once they reach the age of 10 or 12, their body weight and height are ideal. Train them to use the seat belt and say goodbye to the car seats. But do not ignore the booster seats either. Give the kids some time to adjust, grow, and then shift them to the front facing car seats.

Susan
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