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Forward Facing Car Seat Laws?

Does anyone know the exact laws for a forward facing car seat? Like when a baby can go into one? My DH and I keep debating when. Also, do they vary state to state?

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Asked by ABPeterson at 7:54 AM on Mar. 26, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 17 (4,580 Credits)
Answers (21)
  • they have to be 20 pounds AND 1 year old- I have not found a state that differs from that

    Answer by ZaTa at 7:57 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • States do differ BUT as the poster above said 20#s AND 1 year old, mainly. I see your daughter is 7 months old? You have quite some time before you can even consider forward facing. Please research about extended rear facing too because even at 20# and a year it is still much safer to keep her rear facing.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:59 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • They do vary from state to state but it's generally 12 mos and 20 lbs. It IS safest to remain rear facing as long as the seat allows, and most convertibles allow for rear facing up to 35 lbs. I believe every state has a "proper usage clause" meaning that you have to follow the manufacturers specifications. And since no car seat on the market allows a child under 12 mos and 20 lbs to face forward, if you go against THAT, you would essentially be breaking the law.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 8:01 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • it does very state wide but a child should not be forward facing less than a year. Longer is better! Generally the law is one year AND 20 lbs

    Answer by celticreverie at 9:21 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • It does vary. No matter, it is always strongly recommended for safety's sake.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 9:27 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • If it were me and my child was a bigger kid and was just not fitting in the rear facing I would flip it to forward facing as long as they were 20 lbs and on the closer end to one year. If I got pulled over I'd just lie and say my kid was 1. And I don't plan on keeping my kids in booster's until they're 8 either, unless they're puny kids and I feel they need it.

    I'm probably wrong, but that's how I feel about it. Pretty soon the law will be that you can't take your child in a car whatsoever-they'll find that to dangerous.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:40 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • My 5 year old would be out of a booster if it wasn't for the law. I can't lie about his height or age by 3 years, though.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:54 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • keep in mind the rules are minimiums. If you can keep rear facing long, do so. It's safest. My dd just went forward facing and she's 22 months.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:02 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • My oldest was forward facing at 9 months (I was young and dumb), but he weighed 35 lbs at a year old.

    Answer by BrandonsMom1000 at 10:13 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

  • One year and 20lbs. is most common. I've never heard of a state law that says less but check carefully. Where we live it is currently a law that they only have to be in a car seat at all before the age of 2 but when we were in New York a car seat wasn't optional until 4 years and 40 lbs. My second son didn't weigh 40 lbs. until he was 7. Also check your infant seat for height. It is just as bad to have your child in a rear facing seat that is too small as it won't protect them in a crash. I would NEVER scrimp on a car seat after I witnessed a horrific accident on the freeway where the baby in the carseat was thrown out of the car. The infant seat base had not been installed correctly but because the baby was in a proper seat it was crying, scared, had a few scratches but NOTHING else. We kept our kids rear facing until about 18 months in a convertible seat.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:53 AM on Mar. 26, 2009

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