Infant car seats are usually recommended between 20 and 35 pounds. When you are about to upgrade from an infant car seat not only is weight going to be important but the height is also important in this equation.
You have to make sure that the head is never closer than an inch to the top, and you also need to look at the weight.
The other thing that you have to notice as parents are how comfortable your child is in an infant car seat.
To make sure that the chest place is always in the right position, and they are not losing circulation from having their too-tight straps. Then you will be going to start moving them over and transitioning them to a convertible car seat.
This could be usually somewhere between like 1 and 2, but you have to watch the weight and height mostly.
Best Age for Rear-facing Position:
The American Pediatric Association recommends to have the rear-facing position until two and then start turning them around.
Children should start out rear-facing either with a rear-facing infant car seat or rear-facing convertible or all-in-one car seat.
An infant car seat can be used until your child reaches either the maximum weight or height specified by the car seat manufacturer. Typically, this is around 22 to 40 pounds and 30 to 35 inches.
Convertible Car Seats:
Once your child has upgraded from an infant car seat you should consider a convertible car seat or all-in-one car seat.
These car seats have higher rear-facing weight limits so your child can stay rear-facing longer. Some car seats provide 5 inches of extra legroom and allow your child to state rear-facing longer up to 50 pounds.
When to Upgrade from an Infant Car Seat to Forward-Facing Seats?
Once your infant child has hit the weight or height limit for the rear-facing mode of their car seat which can range anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds you should switch them to forward-facing harness fit.
Now that your child is forward-facing you should ensure that you are installing the car seat with the top tether. If installing with the latch system review your car seat and vehicle owner’s manuals for latch system usage weight limits.
Features like belt lock-off and snug lock technology make installing with the seat belt simple. When forward-facing the AAP recommends that children use the five-point harness until they reach the harness height or weight limit.
For most convertible all-in-one and harness booster car seats the forward-facing harness limit is 65 pounds some can go higher.
When to Upgrade for Belt-Positioning Booster?
Once children outgrow the height or weight limit for the forward-facing harness mode they can transition to a belt-positioning booster which boosts your child’s seated height to ensure a proper fit with the vehicle’s seat belt.
Belt-positioning booster car seats are available in two styles high back and backless. High back boosters are ideal for children who need the support of a headrest an additional help with the shoulder about placement.
A properly fitted belt-positioning booster seat should have the shoulder belt in the middle of the shoulder. Not too close to the neck but not hanging off of the child’s shoulder.
The lap belt should sit low on the thighs, not the abdomen. The vehicle seat belt should lie flat against the body without any twists.
If using a buckle speedster or if your high-back booster requires it be sure that there is head support from a vehicle head restraint behind the child’s head to at least the top of the child’s ears.
To use a backless booster your child must be at least four years old at least 40 pounds and 43 to 57 inches. Your child should use the belt-positioning booster seat until they reach the following requirements;
- At least 4 feet 9 inches or 57 inches tall.
- Between 8 and 12 years old.
- Can sit all the way back against the vehicle.
- Knees are bent at the edge of the vehicle seat.
- Shoulder belt fits evenly across the shoulder and the vehicle seatbelt is flat against the body.
- The lap belt is low on the hips touching the front of the hips.
- Can stay comfortably seated this way the entire ride.
- If all requirements are met your child can graduate to the vehicle seat belt.
- It is recommended that children sit in the back seat through at least the age of 12.
And as far as the convertible car seat is concerned. The convertible car seats are really based on the height and weight requirements of the baby.
For most convertibles seats, the upper limit starts at 40 pounds and goes all the way up to 80 pounds depending on the manufacturer and the model that you are looking at.
Finally, if you are looking at 4 or 5 years old. You then may start looking at the booster seat model to take them all the way through until 8 and when they can start sitting in a regular seat.