Do you know, when can baby face forward in car seat? Everywhere in the world, in vehicles, when a baby is traveling in a car seat, the seat is kept rear-facing. This is because babies remain safer while they are kept rear-faced.
American Academy of Pediatrics, in short, AAP conducted their research to know which position is safer for babies to be in a car seat. From the age of 0 to 12, they conducted the study.
According to AAP, the minimum age limit for the babies to be kept rear-faced is the age of 2. Until a baby reaches the age of 2, their back, head, and neck are fragile and should be handled with extreme care and caution.
That’s because this is the age where they gain the shape of their back, head, and neck. Any minor injury can cause them a lifetime of pain. So, while they reach the age of 2, babies should be kept rear-facing.
But is that all? Can your baby face forward in a car seat when they reach the age of 2?
When Should Baby Face Forward In Car?
In 2018, AAP made the recommendation of keeping babies rear-faced till the age of 2. But after recent research, the recommendation became a little bit complicated.
Not every person has the same growth. The growth of each baby differs from one to another. So, if you compare two babies from two different family backgrounds, with parents having noticeable differences in height and weight, they will not have the same growth rate.
If the parents don’t have the proper height or growth, the baby will not have adequate growth within the age of 2.
Again, there is the factor of economic difference. On the basis of how much money parents make, the growth of a baby can differ.
In a household with limited income, the baby can have slower growth due to the lack of healthy food and necessary nutrients. Keeping all that in mind, AAP came up with new recommendations where the babies have to reach a certain height and weight to be able to switch to forward-facing seats.
What Does The Law Say?
Do you know that you get fines on the basis of how you kept your baby in your car? For instance, if your baby is less than 40 pounds and 40 inches, and you have placed them on a forward-facing seat, you can get a fine of $100 to $250, depending on the situation.
All the states in the United States have their specific baby car seat laws. If you’re not obeying them accordingly, you will be subjected to tickets on your license and fines provided the police stops you.
Rear-facing Seat Problems
Some parents are little concerned regarding rear-facing seat problems. The biggest concern is regarding legs. While reaching the specific age limit of a forward-facing seat, the child might have issues with leg space.
Some even feel congested, and some parents might think there’s a chance of kids injuring their legs. But according to the AAP, the cases where the kids might get hurt in their legs because of facing the rear is very rare compared to the chances of getting injured in the head, back, and neck.
So, you can make that comparison and decide how to keep your baby while maintaining the state laws.
So, When Can Baby Face Forward In Car Seat?
We will not give a judgment based on the research we did. Instead, we will take the research made by the United States Department of Transportation, integrate our research results together, and give you an answer to this question.
According to AAP, the regulation was to face your baby to the rear for a minimum of 2 years. The National Highway Transport Safety Administration, in short NHTSA, has made this recommendation easier by filling the gaps.
According to them, despite kids being kept in car seats, convertible seats, and booster seats, they are dying because they are kept inside the car. So, they came up with their own regulations that would justify each and every state law.
What Are The Rules For Rear Facing Car Seats?
NHTSA’s recommendation is to keep your baby in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. Children under the age of 1 should be kept in a rear-facing position as a must. The recommendation is to keep the baby in a rear-faced seat through the age of 1 to 3.
What Are The Rules For Forward Facing Car Seats?
According to NHTSA, from the age of 4 to 7 years, the child should be kept in a forward-facing seat and kept in the seat with a harness. The next-level advancement is actually pretty liberal.
If your child outgrows the size and the weight limit of the forward-facing seat before reaching the age of 7, which is very highly unlikely, can be switched into a booster seat.
Booster Seat Recommendation
The next level recommendation after the forward-faced seating is a booster seat. The general recommendation is to keep the child in a booster seat from the age of 8 to 12. It takes a child to reach the age of 12 or outgrow from the booster seat to be able to use the car seat belt.
So, switching to seat belts of regular car seats from a booster seat is 12 years. But remember, the child should be seated in the back seat till the age of 13, not exceeding any limit set by any state.
I hope you finally have the answer to the question of when can I put my baby’s car seat forward-facing. For a baby to start facing forward in a car, they have to reach the age of 4 years.
Remember, the concern is your baby’s safety. At the end of the day, it is your discretion how you want to keep your baby in your car. Following the recommendations is the best decision for maintaining your baby’s safety inside the car.