Using Forward facing car Seats Safely
Older children may use forward-facing car seats, but they must be at least one year of age and weight 20 pounds. For optimal safety, keep your children in rear facing car seats as long as possible.
There are two basic types of front ward facing car seats:
Convertible car seats are designed to initially face rear, then be turned forward once the child has outgrown the rear-facing limits recommended by the car seat manufacturer. These car seats are generally used until the child reaches 40 pounds. However, some newer seats can be used until children weigh 50, 65 or even 80 pounds. Refer to the instructions for the seat.
Combination car seats can be used facing forward only. Children must be both one year and 20 pounds in order to use these car seats. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids recommend you keep your child facing rear as long a possible. Most combination car seats are used with the harness system up to 40 pounds. Some seats will allow the harness system to be used to higher weight limits. Refer to the instructions for the seat. Once the upper limit of the harness has been reach and the child is four years of age these seats convert to boosters seats.
Follow these guidelines when using forward-facing seats:
- Make sure your child is at least one year of age and weighs 20 pounds before using a front-facing seat. Keep the child facing rear as long as possible.
- Seats used in the forward-facing position should not be reclined unless the instructions for the seat specifically state that the seat can be reclined in the forward-facing mode.
- Place harness straps at or above the child’s shoulders when facing forward. Some seats require that the straps be in specific locations. Refer to the instructions for the seat.
- Avoid adding additional products, such as a head support or shoulder pads, to your child safety seat. Consult a child passenger safety technician for positioning suggestions.