October 03, 2011,
T.P. asks from Huntington Station, NY on August 10, 2011
Carseat Question.. Height/weight Requirements
So my son is turning one in a couple weeks and I am moving him forward facing (I know the AAP suggests 2). He has outgrown his infant car seat.. recommendations say he's outgrown it when he's over 28' and 22 pounds. He is around 30' now and not sure his weight but prob around 20 lbs. So we have a bigger carseat we had registered for when I was pregnant, and I took it out of storage, as I'm reading the booklet it says your child should be between 22lbs-34 lbs (which is fine he doesnt meet weight cuz he's always been tiny, 10th% for weight.) but it says 34' for height. Now, is it safer to have him squished in the infant seat or roomy in the bigger seat. I really want to put him in his bigger seat cuz I feel bad for him all squished in there.. he has to sit indian style in it when it's in the car. Thanks for the answers :)
So What Happened?™
It is the convertible seat.. It is the Safety 1st one with the air things on the sides of his head.
L.S. answers from Spokane on August 10, 2011
Do NOT squish him into a seat!!
The height thing isn't for his legs, it's for his head - because if his head is level with, or higher than, the back of the seat he could be severely injured in an accident.
If your son doesn't fit into the requirement for the seat you have, then see if you can return it and get one that's appropriate for his height and weight. I know it's a pain and could get expensive, but this is the most important piece of baby equipment you buy....it needs to be the right one.
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B.W. answers from Minneapolis on August 10, 2011
You need a convertible car seat. He's likely outgrown the infant seat in height and it needs to be replace by a CONVERTIBLE that will rear facing and the nforward face. Please google INTERNAL DECAPITATION, JOELS JOURNEY, and EXTENDED REAR FACING and watch some rear facing vs. forward facing crash test video's on youtube.
He should still be rear facing for another year. My 4yr old is 37" tall and 30lbs and still rear facing comfortably. She sits indian style, or with her legs over the sides of the seat or up the vehicle seat straight up. Legs touching the seat are not a problem. Please watch the youtube video's and google the terms above.
EDITED to reply to RileyJ's post, when rear facing the harness should come from at or below the shoulders. This prevents ride up in the car seat in crash, which is why the head should be at least an inch below the top of the seat. A rear facing child should have the harness coming from just at or below the shoulders.
When a child is forward facing, the harness should be at or just above the shoulders. If its below when forward facing the child is at risk for spinal compression.
This is all in the car seat manuals, and usually on stickers on the side. For rear facing the harness should be at or below the shoulders to prevent ride up in the seat. When forward facing the harness should be at or above to prevent spinal compresson. It is different for rear or forward facing. Please be sure to read the car seat manual front to back.
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R.K. answers from Boston on August 10, 2011
If he has not at the minimum weight for his seat he can't use it. And if he is over the max for his other seat he can't use that one! Please go buy him a seat that he will be safe in. Most laws for car seats state that a child must use a carseat according to manufacturer.
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E.C. answers from San Francisco on August 10, 2011
Edited to add: Is this the seat you have? http://carseatblog.com/4038/new-safety-1st-complete-air-c...
If so - the 34" height minimum is for using the seat *Forward Facing* - if your son is getting big for his infant seat, he's definitely within the minimum *rear-facing* height for the convertible - hope that helps :-)
A rearfacing seat is outgrown when you reach the weight limit *or* the child has less than 1" of hard plastic shell above the head (see illustration here: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=30201). Maximum "Height" limits on a car seat are approximations because it's the *torso* height, not the total height, that determines whether the child has outgrown the seat by height (so if you have a kid who has a lot of height in the torso, he'll outgrow the seat by height sooner than a kid of the exact same overall height who is "leggier").
If you want to know what is "safer" - honestly, he'd be safer in a convertible seat (harnessed seat that can be used rear-facing or forward facing). You don't have to break the bank to get a decent one - here's a link to a certifed Child-Passenger Safety Tech's (CPST's) reviews of convertible seats in the under-$100 range: http://carseatblog.com/10598/a-comparison-of-convertible-...
And here's a link about the AAP recommendations that also contains some helpful car seat suggestions for keeping your child safe even on a budget:
an excerpt from the second link:
"Here are a few different options for keeping your kid as safe as possible through every age and stage:
The “Traditional” Carseat Progression: Infant carseat, rear-facing convertible, same convertible used forward-facing, higher-weight-harness combination seat used with 5-point harness, same combination seat used without the harness in booster mode, backless booster.
The ”Fewest Number of Carseat Purchases” Progression: Higher-weight-harness convertible seat used rear-facing from birth, same seat used forward-facing to max weight or height, dual mode dedicated booster
The “I don’t have a lot of money but I still want to keep my kid as safe as possible” Progression: Skip the infant seat. Use Cosco Scenera or Evenflo Tribute convertible from birth (around $50). Use convertible forward-facing when rear-facing limits are reached. When outgrown switch to Evenflo Maestro combination seat ($80). Use Maestro with 5-point harness until outgrown then switch to booster mode and continue using the seat as a booster until outgrown. This seat isn’t very tall in booster mode since it isn’t height adjustable but once it’s outgrown you can just buy a backless booster (around $20) until your child reaches 4′ 9″ tall and passes The 5-Step Test. Total cost from birth to seatbelt: About $150
As I have tried to demonstrate – you have lots of options and you don’t have to sacrifice safety just because you’re on a tight budget or can’t afford $250 for a single carseat. The main message here is not to rush each stage. Keep kids rear-facing for as long as possible, once they’re forward-facing keep them in a 5-point harness to the limits of the seat, use booster seats longer and learn how to determine when it’s really safe for your child to transition just to the adult seatbelt. Last but not least – keep your tweens and younger kids out of the front seat if there’s an available seatbelt for them to use in the back seat."
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M.J. answers from Sacramento on August 10, 2011
I can't figure out what kind of seat you have. The 22 - 34 lbs. range is so limited. I wouldn't bother with that seat at all. What you really need is a convertible car seat. These work from infant up to around preschool years. Your child should have no problem fitting in both the weight and height range with these seats.
And while I'm not a big rear-facer (our kids loathed it!), I do believe in following the rules. If they're saying rear-facing until two, do it. A convertible seat can be used rear-facing until you're able to move safely to forward-facing.
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J.C. answers from Anchorage on August 10, 2011
I would honestly buy a convertible seat. The one you have sounds limited, and you should not use one he is too tall for. With a convertible seat you can use it both rear and forward, so you can turn him anytime you want after age one, and the same seat can be used usually until it is time for a booster.
2 moms found this helpful
K.W. answers from Seattle on August 10, 2011
My 20 month old daughter is very tall for her age (95% height) and will stay rear-facing until she's 2 yo. Even if her legs are all scrunched. The reason is until they are two, their necks can't support their big heads in a crash, and they could face severe spinal/brain injury or death if they are front-facing. Given that my dd also has a big head, this is a no-brainer for us (pun intended).
Do what the other mommas suggested. Get a convertible carseat and keep her rear-facing. The convertible carseat won't even cost you more money in the long run, because it will be good until your baby is 40 pounds, at which point he can move to a booster.
And... more from my favorite website, Seattle Mama Doc.
"Keep all infants and toddlers rear-racing from birth until at least age 2... But know, toddlers between the age of 12 months and 24 months are 75% less likely to have serious injury or die in a car accident if they are rear-facing.... There’s no data to support concerns about injury to legs when toddlers are rear-facing and there is no safety issue if your child’s legs and feet rest on the back seat."
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R.J. answers from Seattle on August 10, 2011
As I learned with my own son, the MOMENT their shoulders go above the highest hole, or their heads go over the top of the seat... you need to switch.
I actually got chewed out (in a nice way) by the fire department seat safety people when my son was 6 or 7 months old, for not turning him around in a different seat SOONER (no Britax or other large rear facing seats at that time).
Come to find... their shoulders go over the top strap hole, and in an accident the pressure snaps their spines in two. Oy. Great. That's the biggest and most common risk. Heads over the top of the seat mean brain damage and skull injury. Awesome. And here I thought I'd been being a good mom in trying to keep him rear facing for as long as possible.
I had to get a "common sense exemption" pinned to his new seat (all 3 of his seats were the biggest on the market at the time) to have a forward facing infant. And then again at just over 1 year in moving him to the shoulder belt.
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