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Car seats - when do you change to forward facing?

(7 Posts)
Janus Fri 07-Sep-01 16:55:17

We have a 14 month old who is still in her first car seat (she is very small for her age). As we have airbags in the front seats then her car seat is in the back and rear-facing. People seem surprised that I haven't changed to face her out yet but I've stuck with this so far as I've heard it is the safest way to face if, God forbid, you do have an accident. Thinking of her though it must get very boring looking at the backseat of the car as however many toys, etc, I give her at the start of a journey they usually aren't with her by the end!
Does anyone know the 'official' time you should change the seat around?

Chairmum Fri 07-Sep-01 20:47:05

I think it's weight that is the most important criteria, not age. They just use age as a rough guideline to help you plan.

Lizzer Sat 08-Sep-01 17:35:29

Janus, I think the guidelines for forward facing seats are 20lbs which is meant to be around 9 months old. My little girl was about 9 months old and 19lbs when I put her in a new forward facing seat. I was amazed at the difference in car journeys, she's always been nosy so was delighted when she could see out of the window which meant we could go much further without needing to entertain her and she slept much better in it too (still does!)If your daughter's happy then I don't see a problem like you say it's safer in a head on collision, but one question for you, where do her feet go if she's facing the seat?

Lizp Sat 08-Sep-01 19:18:18

Janus - Its weight and neck strength that are the deciders. Most forward facing seats are for a minimum of 20 lbs and the neck strength comes at 8/9 months I think - its to do with the body catching up in size with head and whip lash I think. At 14 months the neck shouldn't be an issue so it's down to weight. My (also small) little boy didn't hit 20lbs until he was 15 months so had to stay rear facing until then. Once he got into the new seat it made car journeys much pleasanter - he could see what was going on but they are definately safer in the rear facing ones so don't feel bad about keeping her in the seat for as long as possible. The shop I got my seat from (before he hit 20 lbs) gave me a disclaimer note thing saying I had said I wouldn't use it until he was 20lbs - something to do with them being authorized fitters.
Lizzer - if she is anything like my little man then leg length isn't really an issue - he fitted quite happily rear facing at < 20lbs - guess its only a problem if you have a tall but thin child.

Lizzer Sun 09-Sep-01 13:39:20

Lizp, a-ha I DO have a tall, thin child as my only experience, thanks for clearing that up,it was really puzzling me!! :)

Alison222 Mon 10-Sep-01 08:45:32

I had a tall heavy baby and at 5 mths he weighed 20lb. I was told by most people that weight was the criteria used, but Mothercare World in Kew advised me that ability to sit was also crucial.
As Lisp said its to do with the strenght of the neck and the relative weight of the head to the body. If god forbid you have an accident whiplash injuries are likely to be worse in a young baby who's neck isn't strong. I too was told that about 9 months was a good time to turn him around. I bought a seat which wuld go to 13kg rearward facing and at 9 months still have him in this and he still just fits OK, but i'm beginning to think about turning it around now.

Janus Mon 17-Sep-01 10:29:12

Thanks everyone, my computer has been down for a week so hence no reply.
My 14 month old is still not 20lbs (she's a wee lady!!) but I think getting closer (will take her for a weigh in this week). She still fits fine in to her rear-facing as she's not long either but I do think she'd enjoy journeys more when facing out and things to see etc so quite looking forward to getting the new seat.
Thanks again.

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