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Flopsy 12-28-2012 11:34 AM

When did you switch your child to forward-facing in their carseat?


What made you decide it was the right time? (Age, weight, height, something else?)


If your child is at or near the age/height/weight range for being able to be forward-facing, but is still rear-facing, what made you choose that?


Sorry if these sound like silly questions. I'm trying to figure out what to do with my son. He's big for his age (roughly 30lbs/34in at 14 months) and is much more content to ride in the car when forward-facing. BUT I've read the guidelines and know that rear-facing is safer. So I'm just looking for feedback from families who have already made this decision.



JudiAU 12-28-2012 08:31 PM

My kids rear face as long as possible. Ds was big and carseats were smaller so it was about 2. At 3.5 dd still rear faces in a Radian. Carseat choice makes a big difference.

~adorkable~ 12-28-2012 09:16 PM

kids under about 6 do not the cartilage in their spine hardened yet and are at seriously more risk for what is called internal decapitation, clearly a life threatening issue. since rear facing allows the seat to spread out the force and support their body they are 500% more likely to have a serious injury or death when forward facing. with that in mind you keep them rear facing as long as you possible can.


here are a few good things to keep in mind:


it is totally ok for their legs to be crossed, folded up or even kicked up on the seat. even worse case scenario, broken legs are a whole lot more fixable than a broken neck. and kids are usually pretty darn flexible and are normally quite comfy. (mine like it at lot more without shoes for longer rides so their feet are easier to slide on the seat.


  • NTSB recommend RearFacing till 4, AAP recommends a minimun of age 2
  • forward facing is not a cure all for car sickness, actually looking straight out the back window works best for a lot of kids., its having things block your view (including the driver seat) or looking out the side at things moving past too fast that causes most issues.
  • you can get great seats that have RF limits up to 50 pounds in the US and a number of choices that go to 40- or 45lbs
  • its age more than any size that determines when it is safe to forward face, larger kids still do not have stronger necks. so as long as you can find a seat that fits size wise, base the move on age most of all.


my kids just turned two and will stay rear facing till the very last day that they fit and i just bought seats that made sure that will be a very very very long time from now.  there are so many grey areas in parenting, so many conflicting options, this one is a slam dunk, no brainer.

Extended Rear Facing should be the law, until then, lets make it the norm.


a great video:





skycheattraffic 12-29-2012 07:35 AM

DD is 21 months and around 30-32 lbs. She only has 3-5 lbs to go until she outgrows her truefit for RF. Luckily we are expecting baby #2 and will be able to pass the truefit down and get her a radian (45 lb RF limit - highest I can find in Canada). She will RF until she outgrows that. She's a tall, solid kiddo and hits weight limits before height. My mom's car has a FF seat that we occasionally (reluctantly) use but over 99% of the time DD is RF and will remain so as long as possible. There's really just no good reason to turn her forward.

sere234 12-29-2012 07:50 AM

My 28 mo old (38 pounds, 38 inches) is still rear facing in a Radian. He'll be in it RF for 7 more pounds if I have anything to do with it!

~adorkable~ 12-29-2012 08:46 AM

I'm so happy to see all these RF kids! My twins go to a nursery school two mornig a week and everyone is just turning two, I'm one of only 2 parents that RF. I'm really pretty saddened and kinda shocked how much bad info there is out there. I heard I sales man at buy buy baby tell a lady she should probably turn FF at about 9months! A year if she wanted to "wait a while" not only is that deadly, it completely illegal! And this was a guy in charge of selling Carseats!

~adorkable~ 12-29-2012 08:52 AM

For the record I just got two Foonfs that will RF till 50lbs, the way my twins are I the growth charts that is somewhere between 5 and 6! I assume they hit height a bit before that, but will keep then RF till they do.

The seats were expensive but not if you do the math and see how much use I will get out of them by the time they hit 65lbs the FF limit. And then there will still be sellable since they have 9year lifespans IIRC. They will take the all the way to a low back booster most likely, though we may go high back if we can anyway.
I figure I spend more on a good car stereo or a iPad and neither of those can safe my kids life. Wen you think of it that way, getting the safest and hopefully most comfy seat I can is a no brainer. I budgeted it in when I got my car loan last summer.

nia82 12-29-2012 10:39 AM

Not yet. Ds is nearly 4.5 years old and in size 5T and has a little bit of height left before we have to turn (Radian XTSL). DD will be 2 in January and is rearfacing with lots of room to grow in a Radian RXT.

MiddleRiverMama 12-29-2012 11:49 AM

I turned mine around just about a month ago, at 27 months. I was the last of everyone I know with kids his age to turn him around, but I felt and still feel really unsure about it (and all the posts here make me feel even less sure). That said, it has made our lives so much more flexible. Before I almost never took him anywhere longer than 10 minutes because he was so miserable in the car, and now we have so much fun in the car together, and we can go on longer trips. We talk about everything we see, and he is learning traffic signals and street names and directions. It's a really hard decision.

Flopsy 12-29-2012 12:43 PM

Thanks for the great responses, everyone. I honestly thought I knew all the pros and cons about RF vs. FF, but clearly I didn't. Adorkable, your info and videos were especially helpful.


We have a seat that allows DS to be RF until 40 or 50 lbs - I can't remember off the top of my head, but we'll be keeping him RF a good while longer. We're surrounded by friends and family here who turned their kids early - right at 12 months or soon after, so it's easy for me to feel like that's what I should do, too. Safety definitely trumps everything else in my book, though.

sassyfirechick 12-29-2012 01:25 PM

Sorry, I don't think I'm a horrible parent at all for allowing DD to FF - started at 10mos and NO IT WAS NOT ILLEGAL.  Read your own state laws, minimum for us was 22lbs OR 1yr.  She was uncomfortable and from the sounds of it getting severely carsick much like I do, so FF was the best option  for us.  Not everyone fits into these categories.  I don't feel the least bit horrible or unsafe with her in the car.  The seat is properly secured and she's properly secured in her seat - those are far more important than those who rear face and have the kid improperly strapped.

Flopsy 12-29-2012 01:37 PM

Thanks for your input, sassyfirechick. I don't think that makes you a horrible parent at all; I think everyone has to weigh the pros and cons for themselves and decide what works best for their family. Sounds like that's exactly what you did. smile.gif

Lisa85 12-29-2012 02:00 PM

Both my older two who are now 5 and 7 made it until 4 in their Evenflo Triumph Advance carseats.  They could have made it longer but they would get so sweaty in the summer time so we switched them then.  They were shy of the weight limit by 2-3 pounds fully dressed.


DS is 12 months and still has a few years to go.  He's following a similar growth curve as dd1 so even though he was bigger, i fully expect him to make it to 3 years old.

sk8boarder15 12-29-2012 07:37 PM

My son is 2, 30lbs, and still RFing in the True Fit. When he hits 35lbs (he's growing slow so it maybe a while) I plan to get a Radian. I'd really like to keep him RFing till 4. I know many will think I'm crazy, but if we ever get in a bad accident I can take comfort knowing I did everything I could to keep him safe! 

I don't think its horrible to turn a kid who is getting sick in the car, but it is a risk you must weigh. You can still keep them in a 5pt harness FFing for a LONG time. 

nia82 12-30-2012 07:50 AM

I don't think it's crazy to rearface long. It's just not the norm, yet. I have witnessed so many people I grew up with die in accidents - starting at age 9 to adults. Car accidents are very likely to happen statistically. No matter how safe we drive, others do not. I myself was hit by a motorcycle on a crosswalk and felt the immense forces on my body. It scares me A LOT.


For proper installation, safe kids offers free installation by CPSTs in most states. They will also tell you how to properly put your kid in - though I'd assume all parents on this board read their instruction manuals and are properly more informed than most parents (like no thick coats in the car, tight seatbelt, chest buckle at chest etc). DS is not only the only kid I know his age who rearfaces, he also is the only kid I know harnessed - everybody here puts 3 years + in boosters (the kind with the car seat belt), turns around at 1 year (local law says 20lbs AND 12 months). I even saw some nifty people installing an infant seat forward facing. Yup. I get lots of comments from DH's family when I will finally put DS around - kicker is he was ff for 3 weeks in April in Germany as my parents' car couldn't accommodate the Radian well - and he hated it. His feet dangled which he didn't like (he also didn't enjoy the flight forwardfacing due to this reason).

JennJenn84 12-30-2012 08:14 AM

I think with my daughter she was almost 2? I don't remember exactly. She was in a FF seat till 3 1/2 then I switched her to a booster seat. She is now out of a booster (and has been since she was 5.) I think it depends on every situation. Just because a child is a certin age, dosnt mean they should move up. I have a neice that is going to be 6 in April, and she still needs a booster as she is *so* tiny! She was in a FF carseat til she was 5.

Skippy918 12-30-2012 02:07 PM

jenn jenn- I thought a child had to be in a booster till their 8 and 80lbs? I've also thought the height needed to be able to use a regular seat belt was 4'9".
I see way to many kids in real life either forward facing too soon or in boosters too soon. One of my son's friend's who just turned 4 is in a booster. I plan to keep my son harnessed for much longer. I rear faced him till 3 1/2. DD is 19 months and still rear facing.

katelove 12-30-2012 04:28 PM

My daughter was rear-facing until 2yrs3months. It would have been much longer if we had been able to get a carseat to accommodate her. In Australia the best seat at the time only went up to 12kg RF. She was in it til then.

minkajane 01-02-2013 08:55 AM

DS was about 18 months when I turned him and he was in 5-point restraints till he was almost 5 and outgrew them. DD is now 20 months and still rear-facing. She has ridden forward facing a couple of times when I had to take the carseat out to clean the car and had trouble getting it back in right and it was dark. If I didn't know how much safer it is rear-facing, I'd leave her facing forward. It's so much easier to get her in and out of the car and it takes up so much less room in the car. But I can suck it up and deal with a bit of annoyance if it keeps DD safer. I turned it back to rear-facing two days ago before we went out of town for New Year's and it will stay that way. I think this kind of carseat allows for rear-facing to 40 pounds and DD is only about 25 pounds, so we still have a long way to go.

Quinalla 01-02-2013 01:35 PM

I kept DD rearfacing until 2 and some, she could have gone a bit longer, but not much in the seat we had. The law here is still 1 or 22 lbs here too I think, we kept her in her infant seat until she was almost 1 since she was small/light enough. I think that unless there are extenuating circumstances (car sickness is a big deal, I have that and am miserable and potential vomiting in any vehicle rear-facing, as others have said knees bending or sitting cross legged is no cause for concern), rearface as long as your seat will allow and try to purchase a seat that allows extended rear facing. If you have a new/newer seat, almost all allow quite a bit longer than even the seat I purchased 3.5 years ago, but fitting carseats into your car is also a big consideration too as some of those seats are getting so tall now that rearfacing can be quite a challenge in anything but a van/minivan/SUV.

LeighPF 01-02-2013 02:41 PM

Monkey was RF until he was just past three. A bit tall for his age and about 35lb. In a Radian 65 so still more room to RF but we are car less and I was tired of installing it RF every damn time. Oddly gets more carsick facing forward.

Bee is still RF in her Coccoro at 20 months and will do until she is 36" tall and it has to go FF. If we had a car I would have gotten her a Radian too for the longer RF.


Most states (and all car seat manuals I have read) have RF until a minimum of 20 lb AND 1 year. Monkey hit 20 lb at 4 months.

~adorkable~ 01-02-2013 05:16 PM

a point on carsickness, FF is very often not the answer certainly not the only one, i actually had both my twins start getting super carsick last summer and as i am plauged with carsickness myself to the point were i can barely be a passenger,  i was very sympathetic and was frantic to fix whatever i could.  the biggest point is to give the person prone to sickness something in the distance to look at. avoiding looking at stationary things within the car AS WELL AS the fast moving nearby stuff that is usually found out the side windows. 

this can often be easier to do RF actually!


as a view out the rear of a car is often less obstructed and with less distracting  of stuff in the way if it is there.  we took off the head rest of the rear seats, i know others that moved the kids to the 3rd row if you use all 3, i fold my 3rd row down for stroller but make sure everything is below the seat backs( both for the view as well and safety in a panic stop). i then worked on making sure the fresh air blew near them and in my case i was lucky and could make sure it was never really warm air. as soon as i did those things, my 6 weeks of my two 18 month olds puking nearly every other day stopped abruptly! 

it may not be the magic bullet for everyone, but just want to point out that neither is FF. specially if that is facing the back of a front seat or a busy dash stereo area that draws their eyes.

~adorkable~ 01-02-2013 05:25 PM


as for the difference between minimums and what is good for your kids, we all can point to many things where the "rules" are far lower a bar than it should be, heck like folks saying you only need to nurse for 6 months because that is what the official statement is in the US, we all know that doing it much longer is way better for our kids and most of us do.


as important a choice that is, this is way way more so.


So yeah someone might live in a state that has stupidly low car seat regulations, it doesn't not make it "right" to follow them, just "technically correct" a huge difference.  


So while i will not spend my energy calling anyone a bad parent for just doing the minimum of a badly written law, the name calling does not help the kid.

I will, and repeatedly do, go on recored as pointing out that turning FF based on weight rather than age is in denial of the science of why the law was written.

Also that turning earlier rather that finding a way to make it work is choosing to place convenience over a very real life and limb safety issue.


Until the laws change and I hope in terms of carseats someday they do, parents have a right to do all sorts of dangerous things with their kids including FF way too young, but they do need to own that choice they make and not expect me or anyone to buy the excuses they give themselves.



I have this talk with all my friends heart to heart  and many folks i barely know. I have help turned back around a number of kids and helped a handful of others find ways for it to work to keep them RF much longer, like I did with my own horrible problem. 

this is such a easy clearly good thing in a world of confusing grey areas of parenting, i make no qualms about being an activist for it.

colsxjack 01-02-2013 06:54 PM

We turned DD at 2 3/4 yrs. I did not not want. I wanted to RF until she reached the limits of her seat (which is now at 3.5 yrs). But we turned her for a couple of reasons.

The biggest reason was that we could not come up with a way to have her be comfortable in the car and not screaming. The screaming was causing a situation where we were more likely to end up in a car accident. She screamed in the car from birth. But we didn't drive all that much.

She is a very sensitive child. I dont know if it was car sickness or motion sickness or what.

I do know that she is VERY sensitive to noise and light. And the sunlight coming in the back window was causing severe discomfort for her. Dark sunglasses didn't stop the screaming. A shade in the window made it hard to see when driving. Holding blankets over her head caused a larger blind spot for the driver.


We chose to FF and see if that helped. It did. Our DD all of a sudden became capable of being in the car.


We now have twin infants that tolerate the car very well. In fat, car seats are like valium and they just fall asleep. Hopefully it stays that way.

We also have a different vehicle that has tinted windows, allows for seating out of the suns blare and has ample room for extended RF.

These kids will RF until 40lbs. If they are like their sister, that will be 3.5yrs.

neonalee 01-02-2013 09:38 PM

We are RF at 2.5 yrs in I think a true fit. I plan to keep him there as long as possible. Thanks to the info in the first? reply now DP is convinced as well. I don't know anyone who stayed RF after 1, not because of illness, but because it's more convenient or they were uninformed greensad.gif

That said I feel very lucky that DS has no trouble with it.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk, please ignore typos.

sunwillshine 01-03-2013 06:57 AM

When you know better, you do better. :-)

Cady is 26 months and RFing happily in her Diono Radian 120. She's 33 lbs and around 37-38 inches, and I hope to RF her for a good long while yet. Even if she starts complaning or getting carsick, I figure sick and/or grumpy is better than dead or severely injured, were the worst to happen. 

somegirl99 01-03-2013 02:34 PM

DS is almost 2.5 and is still RFing in our Complete Air, and we plan to keep him that way for a long time to come.

luckiest 01-03-2013 02:41 PM

I had planned to go until we maxed out his Britax Marathon (35 or 40lbs I think), but we turned him at 21 months.  The car seat had been a constant source of frustration since birth, getting worse as he got older.  And the older he got, the more vehemently he resisted until we were effectively housebound.  Getting him in the seat required physically pinning him down while he cried and struggled so hard he would vomit.  Reluctantly turned him around, skeptical that it would even help anything and prepared to turn him back RF if it didn't help, but it was night and day.  We tried everything we could to avoid FF, but it was the only way I was able to leave the house without tears for both of us.  Hopefully it won't be an issue with our next kid(s) and they can RF until they max out their seat.

loveandgarbage 01-03-2013 03:06 PM

We did this at 2 even though I wanted to wait until longer. With my older son it just wasn't possible (99th+ percentile for height/weight) and with my younger one it was a matter of keeping him happy in the car.

crunchy_mommy 01-03-2013 08:15 PM

DS is 4yo and still RF'ing. A few months ago we tried FF'ing for a week or so to see if it would help with carsickness. We were desperate, and I figured since he was almost 4yo it wasn't a huge risk to at least try it. It didn't help with the carsickness and in fact he actually asked to turn the seat back around. He'll probably remain RF'ing for another year or two, basically 'til he outgrows the seat RF limits. He is the only one of his friends who is RF'ing but they think it's cool that he gets to ride backwards, and it's fun when we put his carseat in a friend's car because the kids get to face each other. smile.gif Once in a while he asks to turn the car seat forward (just for fun I guess?) but I just remind him that it is much safer RF'ing and that's the way we keep him.

I would not turn a kid FF'ing before age 2, even with fussiness, carsickness, etc. After age 2, I might try FF'ing for long trips if carsickness was an issue, though I'd try other ideas first, and FF'ing would be more of a last resort.

This is a good reference on RF'ing and the whole site is great for car seat info.

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