When to Upgrade Infant Car Seat

When to upgrade infant car seat

Car seats are mandatory by law. We love to see our little angels grow. And, with raising children, you need to upgrade a car seat. You need to have a car safety seat that fits right to your kid for the safety measurement.

The upgrade depends on the height and weight limit of your baby. A newborn remains in an infant car seat until two years. Once they outgrow it, the “toddler safety seat” comes in handy until your kid reaches 3 to 4. From 4 to 7, you need to switch to a “Booster Seat.”

After years of parenting and complete research, I am writing this article to provide you with complete detail. While in the meantime, you can enjoy the ride with your little genius.

When Do I Need To Upgrade My Car Seat?

You need “three types” of car safety seats until your baby reaches 8.

When-Do-I-Need-To-Upgrade-My-Car-Seat

You can pick any type as per your budget and child’s need.

Seat TypeSeat ViewPlacementAge
InfantRear-FacingBacksideBirth to 18 Months
ToddlerForward-FacingBackside2 – 4 Years
BoosterBackless / Forward-FacingBackside4 – 7 Years

We recommend using the rear-facing as long as possible. Switch to the next only once your kid hits the height and weight limit.

Is There Any Expiration Date For Car Seats?

Yes, Car safety seats do have an expiration date.

They generally have a shelf life between 6 to 8 years from manufacture.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents not use any baby gear once it passes the expiration date.

Usually, a label at the bottom or back carries all the manufacturing and best before details.

When Should You Switch Car Seats?

The thumb rule is to switch to the weight and height limit once your baby grows.

When-Should-You-Switch-Car-Seats

If possible, we advise using rear-facing for the first three years.

Seat TypeHeight LimitWeight Limit
Infant Rear-Facing30 – 32 Inches30 – 35 lbs
ConvertibleUp To 47 InchesMax 65 lbs
Combination Harness to BoosterUp To 63 InchesMax 110 lbs
High Back BoosterUp To 65 InchesMax 120 lbs
All In OneUp To 65 InchesUp to 140 lbs

Remember, at the age of 18 months, 63% of newborns outgrow infant car seats. We advised measuring the seat dimensions for a more accurate fit.

Types Of Car Seats – Everything You Need To Know!

Phase 1: Infant 

These are most commonly used for newborns. The seat style is “Bucket.”

Rear-Facing is always placed at the backside. 

If the child did not hit the advised height and weight limits, you could overuse them.

State Law.

The laws and regulations may vary, but keeping your infant as rear-facing as possible is strongly encouraged.

Phase 2: Convertible 

Convertible

Convertible seats are for “Toddlers.”

Many new parents prefer a convertible over a regular infant seat. 

You can convert it into “Forward-Facing” from “Rear-Facing.”

Convertible seats come with safety belts to buckle your kid safely.

The Law For Convertible Seats.

Even though you can convert them into forward-facing, keeping your kid rear-facing for five years is highly recommended. 

When Should I Upgrade to a Convertible Car Seat?

Switch to a convertible once your kid is 47 inches tall and weighs over 40lbs.
Suc seats can be used in both “Forward” and “Rear” facing. Experts recommend using them rear-facing until the kid reaches the age of 3.

Phase 3: Five-Point Harness To Booster.

It offers much protection and comfort. The harness keeps the baby safe in incidents.

Combining it with the booster is much more affordable than buying other types separately.

The five-point harness allows children to sit properly, and the safety buckles protect them.

They still are placed on the backside of the car.

What We Advise!

Be very gentle while buckling the belt. Ensure that the shoulder belt is crossing the neck.

When Should you Switch to Five Point Harness?

Upgrade to a five-point harness when your child is five years old.
The child’s weight should be a minimum of 70 lbs. And the gap between their head and car food restraint is less than 1 inch.

Phase 4: Booster.

It can be either “backless” or “high-back with a belt.”

You can use “high back” up to the age of 5. We recommend going backless once your kid reaches the age of 7+.

Backless booster seats can also be used with the vehicle’s belt.

Even though your child is 8+ when using a booster seat. Don’t place it on the front passenger side.

When Should You Upgrade to a Booster Car Seat?

Once the kid’s height is 49 inches and weighs over 65 lbs, you can switch to the booster seat.
You can also switch according to your car seat user manual. If the Child is tall but weighs less, we recommend a backless booster.

Phase 5: All in One.

It is the most convenient option. It is also considered the best car seat for tall children all in one go. 

Make sure your child is over 80lbs and can hold themself before switching.

The rule of thumb is to make sure that your children’s legs can hit the ground. 

Keep your kids at the backside until they are 12 years old.

Things To Consider Before Switching.

  • The Expiration date has passed.
  • The current product is damaged.
  • Your kid has reached the maximum height and weight limit.
  • Your baby can longer fit right in.

Rear-Facing or Forward-Facing – Experts Have Spoken!

This is a hot debate among parents. With strong opinions from both sides, sometimes it is hard to decide.

Rear-Facing-or-Forward-Facing-Experts-Have-Spoken

But finally, experts have expressed their opinion.

How Long Should I Keep My Baby In Rear-Facing?

The AAP recommends keeping your baby rear-facing until the age of 2. 
States including California, Oregon, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, South Carolina, Nebraska, Virginia, and New York require children under two years to be seated rear-facing.

When Can My Baby Use a Forward-Facing Car Seat?

You can use the forward-facing toddler safety seat once your child outgrows the infant car seat. 
Experts advised parents not to rush forward-facing early. It is not safer compared to the rear-facing.

Which One Is Better Between Rear-Face And Forward-Facing?

Rear-Facing is better and safer.
Rear-facing will absorb most of the crash force in any unfortunate car crash. It will protect the head, neck, and spine.
In forward-facing, there is a chance that your kid will be thrown forward in any vehicle accident. This can damage their head and even cause death.

How Long Can My Baby Sit In a Car Seat?

No matter which type you prefer. Your kid can only use a car seat for 2-hours a day
The rule of thumb is a maximum of 120 minutes a day and every type of seat placed at the car’s backside.

Wrapping it Up

You need to switch your child’s car seat every 2-3 years. The rear-facing is much more comfortable and better. We advised using rear-facing even in the convertible.
Always keep the car safety seat on the backside for health and safety measurements. Make sure that your kid doesn’t sit longer than two hours in any car seat.