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How do you know when to turn your child front facing in the car seat?

My grand-daughter is 1 year old and a big kid. I've heard it's safest to leave children rear facing as long as possible. Do you turn the seat around if the child can put her feet on the back of the seat? or do you just make them bend their legs and wait until the weight limit is reached?

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Asked by jfaber at 8:17 PM on Jul. 2, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (7)
  • You have them bend their legs. Really its not that uncomfortable for them, they don't know any better.
    I personally think that 2 years is too long, but I am keeping my kiddo rear-facing until she is 18months old.

    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 8:21 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • My baby was HUGE and met the height and weight requirements to be turned face forward before the age of 1. I kept him turned around until 1.5, even though it killed me lifting him. Also, head control and body control is very important. they need to be able to control their heads if you slam on the brakes to take a wild turn accidentally. No one ever thinks of that. Rear-facing is best because they are opposite of some of those forces.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:46 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • It does not matter if their legs hit the seat, they can fold them, spread them over the sides, or just prop them up on the seat. They will find what is comfy for them. It is safest to keep them rearfacing until the limits of the seat. Once she hits the rearfacing weight limit, or her head is within 1in. of the top of the carseat's shell then she'll need to be turned forward.


    Answer by sarahmae3 at 8:53 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • If your main concern is the safety of the child, keep them rear-facing until they reach the maximum weight limit for the car seat (usually 33 or 35 pounds). Toddlers are not uncomfortable with their legs folded the way adults would be, and if rear-facing is what they're used to, they don't mind. My son is 2 1/2 years old and still rear-facing. His safety is my primary concern and he is happy rear-facing. Here is a 38-second video that shows forward and rear-facing children in the same crash test.


    Answer by DeTora_Family at 10:40 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • Leg length doesn't matter. I saw someone mentioning it's hard to lift them - my 2 year old climbs in her seat by herself. It's way easier to let her climb in. She's proud to do it by herself, it's cute.

    Answer by apexmommy at 11:01 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • My cousin i s14 months and she is already in a forward facing seat. really it isn't that unsafe as long as she is long enough, She needs to be comfy while being safe

    Answer by hayleighsmommy1 at 12:45 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • It's best to go to the limits of the convertible seat. My son is 20 months and HUGE. But still just under the limits. And I manage to lift him in even though I'm 8 months pregnant. Long legs don't matter with a convertible seat. And anyway, it's more comfortable for them to sit cross legged or with their legs bent than to have their legs hanging in the air off the front of a forward facing seat. Try one time sitting on your table with your legs hanging in the air and see how long that's comfortable. My oldest (4) has to be forward facing. He complains of tingly feet sometimes and will hug his legs up to his chest so that he can rest them on his car seat. Long legs are absolutely NOT a problem for rear facing.

    Answer by tyrelsmom at 1:30 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

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