As your little passenger starts to more snugly fill out his or her infant car seat, you may be wondering when it's safe to graduate to a front-facing seat. The latest research suggests toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until at least 2 years of age. Many Circle of Moms members have shared their thoughts on whether it's okay to do it earlier, as well as when they personally moved their child into a front-facing seat and the model they chose.
To help inform your own decision, here are the current front-facing guidelines, plus recommendations from Circle of Moms members on their favorite front-facing car seats.
Your Backseat by the Book: US Laws and AAP Recommendations
Car seat laws vary by country, state and municipality. In the U.S., many states' child restraint laws (including those of Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin) require children to ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least one year old and at least 20 pounds.
Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies ride in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, and at least until they are one year old and 20 pounds. After reaching the maximum weight or length allowed by the infant car seat (which varies by car seat manufacturers and models, though most cap off at 22-35 pounds and 29-33 inches) the AAP suggests the child ride in a larger rear-facing seat, and only in a front-facing seat when the larger rear-facing seat is outgrown.
Convertible Front-Facing Seats Recommended by Moms
"I LOVE my Britax Marathon," says Rachel G, a mother of two in Wisconsin. "It is like the Cadillac of car seats. Well worth the price." Lindsay K. also spoke highly of the Marathon: "It can be both forward and rear facing, is super easy to install (and transfer from car to car) and the cover can be removed and cleaned."
In addition to the Marathon, the Britax Boulevard also earned positive reviews from MacKenzie R., who lives in Idaho with her two boys: "Both the Marathon and Boulevard are excellent choices for convertible car seats. They are both good for 6 years, rear-face to 35 lbs. and forward-face to 65 lbs. The Boulevard has additional side-impact protection.
Safety1st Alpha Omega Convertible Car Seat
Sarah S., one of chorus of moms who recommended this Safety1st seat, says "I really like the Saftey1st: Alpha Omega 3-in-1. It works for 5lbs–80lbs…It was over $150 but worth every penny."
Looking for more information on car seats? Want to debate the latest rear-facing research?
Millions of mothers come to Circle of Moms to ask advice of other parents on children's products and parenting decisions. Whether you're looking for recommendations on slings and carriers or do-it all strollers, or want to debate hot parenting topics, Circle of Moms is a friendly, collaborative place to connect with real moms all over the world.