A car seat is an essential baby gear parents need to have for their kids for a safe and comfortable ride in a car or on a stroller. However, if you are using a car seat inside your car, there are a few things you need to know about.
There are different types of car seats (rear-facing, convertible, booster) and each has a specific time and mode of use.
For example, you can’t start using a forward-facing car seat for a newborn, or use a booster seat for a 2-year-old child.
If you own a Britax convertible or all-in-one seat, you’d want to know when to turn the Britax seat forward. There is a set time to use a rear-facing and forward-facing car seat, and that’s what we’ll focus on in this short write-up.
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Table of Contents
When to turn Britax car seat forward?
If you own a Britax convertible or all-in-one car seat, you should turn from rear-facing to forward-facing when your child weighs around 20 lbs (9.1 kg).
In addition to the weight of your child and the weight capacity of the car seat, there are other crucial factors that determine when to turn a Britax car seat or any other brand of car seat forward.
The standing height and seated shoulder height of your child are other important factors to consider before turning forward-facing.
There is always an instruction manual that gives you all the information you need. It is always advisable to continue with rear-facing until your child reaches the maximum weight and height specified.
Therefore, whether you have a Britax Boulevard, Britax Marathon, or any other Britax convertible car seat, you should consider turning forward-facing when your child weighs 20 lbs.
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How to know when your child outgrows a car seat
The major reason for riding a baby in a specific car seat position is to protect the child in case of a crash. Age is not the best factor to consider when changing from rear to forward-facing because kids grow differently.
The key factor to tell you a child has outgrown a car seat position is “measurement.” You must keep an eye on the weight and height of your child to know when he/she outgrows the seat.
The following factors below should tell you when to switch from rear-facing to forward-facing, and to a booster seat.
Weight Capacity Of The Car Seat
Whether you have a Britax car seat, Graco car seat, or other brands of car seats, there is always a minimum and maximum weight limit.
Also, there is a specific weight capacity for each car seat position you tend to use for your child.
For Britax convertible car seat, the rear-facing has its weight capacity, and so also is the forward-facing.
There is a label on the side of the car seat that gives you all the information about the specific weight capacity for each mode of use.
Simply weigh your child and compare the weight with the car seat specifications to know when to turn the seat.
Every car seat has a maximum height limit, and this may vary for each mode of use. For instance, a booster seat has a higher height capacity than a rear-facing infant car seat.
You can get all the information about the height of a car seat by checking the label on the seat or going through the car seat instruction manual.
You should measure your child’s standing height and compare it with that of the car seat. If your child has exceeded the seat height capacity, you should stop using the car seat.
Seated Shoulder Height
The seated shoulder height is another good way to tell when a child has outgrown a car seat.
Some kids tend to have longer trunks or torsos, making them outgrow a car seat by shoulder height even before reaching the car seat’s height limit.
If you own a Britax car seat, below is how to know if your child has outgrown the seat by seated shoulder height
Britax rear-facing infant car seat: Your child has outgrown a Britax rear-facing infant car seat if the top of your child’s head is less than 1″ below the top of the car seat head restraint when seated.
Also, if the harness straps can’t be positioned below your child’s shoulder, then your child has outgrown the rear-facing infant car seat.
Britax convertible car seat (rear-facing): If you own a Britax convertible car seat, you should stop using the rear-facing mode when the top of your child’s head is less than 1″ below the top of the car seat pad or head restraint.
You should also stop using the rear-facing mode if the harness straps can’t be positioned below your child’s shoulder.
Britax convertible car seat (forward-facing): You should stop using the Britax forward-facing convertible car seat when your child’s ears are above or at the same level as the car seat head restraint when seated.
Also, if the harness straps can’t be positioned above your child’s shoulder, it means your child has outgrown the forward-facing mode.
Britax Harness-2-Booster or Booster Seat (forward-facing): Your child has outgrown the booster seat if the tops of your child’s ears are above or at the same level as the head restraint when seated.
While age is another factor to consider before turning a car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing, you must understand that children grow at different rates.
Nevertheless, your child should stay in a rear-facing car seat until at least 2 years old. At around that age, your child should probably be reaching the maximum weight, height, or seated shoulder height limit of the seat.
I wouldn’t dwell so much about age. Instead, I will focus on a child’s weight and seated shoulder height. You shouldn’t be in a hurry to change a car seat mode just by working with the age specifications on the car seat.
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Conclusion – When To Turn A Car Seat Forward
A child has outgrown a car seat mode of use if the child has exceeded the height, weight, and seated shoulder height limit of the seat. You should start using the forward-facing mode when your child is about 20 lbs.
Simply go through the user guide of the car seat to get all the information you need about when to turn a car seat forward.