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What are the rules for car seats? At what age can my toddler be forward facing?
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.
Use a rear-facing seat until age 2 or more
Most convertible seats have limits that permit children to ride rear-facing for 2 or more years. As your child grows, you might have to switch from using a smaller rear-facing-only car seat to using a bigger rear-facing convertible car seat that can hold a larger child, first rear-facing then forward-facing. After you turn the seat forward, adjust the harness, make it more upright, and attach the top tether.
Why keep your child in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible? If you are in a front-end crash (the most common type of crash) a rear-facing car seat allows your child’s head, neck, and spine to move evenly into the seat, not away from it. It’s the best!
Moving from a rear-facing to forward-facing car seat
Children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat should move to a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness and top tether. Use this seat for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed on the seat’s label.
Your child may need a forward-facing car seat with a harness that has a higher weight or height limit before moving to a booster seat. Not all kids are ready for the freedom of a booster seat.
When ready and after your child gets too big for the weight or height limits of the forward-facing car seat, put your child in a booster seat used with the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt.