Knowing the right car seat ages and stages is important to keep your growing child traveling safely. From infants to toddlers and toddlers to elders, the age, height, and weight vary. Similarly, the types of car seats by age also vary.
Different Car Seat Ages and Stages – Gradual Progression
Knowing the progression in your child’s car seat from newborn to childhood will help you keep them safe in the timely transition.
Timely transition is good to make sure that your baby is using the car seat that best suits their age, height, and weight. Let’s discuss the car seat ages and stages one by one:
1. Infant Car Seat:
Infant car seats, also named “Bucket car seats,” are rear-facing only or rear-facing convertible seats that are portable as well as removable.
This will be the first car seat that your child will use until they outgrow its weight and height limit. Our article “Infant car seat height limit” will help you get more knowledge about your baby’s car seat.
Generally, the requirements for an infant car seat are:
- Height limit: up to 32ʺ
- Weight limit: 5-30 lbs.
- Age limit: 0-2 years
2. Convertible Car Seat:
Do you know what is a convertible car seat means?
A convertible car seat means a double-positioned car seat i.e. rear-facing and forward-facing. It is a money saver option for the parents as it can be used from the age of infancy up to 6+ years of age.
The new in parenting usually want a car seat that stays with them for a longer period of time. Convertible car seat is one of them. It can be listed at number 1 and 2 among car seat ages and stages because of its convertible feature.
The basic requirements for a convertible car seat include
- Height limit: up to 49ʺ
- Weight limit: 30-60+ lbs.
- Age limit: 0-6+ years
3. Harness to Booster Car Seat:
As the name shows, the harness to the booster car seat is forward-facing only. It is designed for children of age 2+ years.
It has 5 point harness system as well as a high-back booster car seat with the vehicle seat belt to be used by older children.
The height, weight, and age requirements for a harness to booster car seat are:
- Height limit: up to 4 ft. 9ʺ
- Weight limit: 30-80+ lbs.
- Age limit: 2-6+ years
4. High Back Booster Car Seat:
High-back booster car seats are considered the most protective car seats for adults.
Its structured headrest is adjustable that allows the user to position the lap belt low over the child’s hips, as well as the collar bone and chest plate.
The parents like to buy a high-back booster car seat instead of a simple booster seat. The basic height, weight, and age requirements for this car seat are:
- Height limit: up to 38-57ʺ
- Weight limit: 40-110 lbs.
- Age limit: 4-8+ years
To read more about booster car seat basic requirements, you can read our article titled “what is the weight limit for a booster seat”
5. Backless Booster Car Seat:
The children who are too tall for a high-back booster car seat will shift to backless booster seats and use vehicle seatbelts.
The backless car seats are designed to elevate the child to a height where the shoulder belt will be correctly placed over the collarbone and chest plate.
The basic height, weight, and age requirements for a backless booster car seats are:
- Height limit: up to 57ʺ
- Weight limit: 05-100 lbs.
- Age limit: 0-8+ years
Note: if the shoulder belt is not coming in the position as mentioned above, you can buy an additional shoulder belt positioning strap to adjust the shoulder belt accurately.
6. Adult Seat Belt:
The last phase in car seat ages and stages will be the adult seat belt. The children who are mature enough to use adult seat belts (and they fit them too) are allowed for it.
A child who has outgrown the height (57ʺ), weight (120+ lbs.), and age (13+ years) limit for all the above-mentioned car seats will be shifted to the adult seat belt.
2 Styles of Car Seat Position by Age
Newborn car seat straps correct position is very much important to ensure their safety while traveling in the car or by air.
The newborn babies are advised to sit rear-facing in the car seats so that they would be better protected in a violent crash.
The hardback of the infant car seat would be towards the front of the car and shield the child’s head, neck, and body from getting injured.
For Rear Facing Car Seat:
For rear-facing infant car seats, the shoulder straps are fastened after passing them through car seat slots at or just below your child’s shoulders.
For Forward Facing Car Seat:
For forward-facing car seats, the shoulder straps are at or just above the child’s shoulders.
Baby Car Seat Ages and Stages by Weight
Baby car seats have certain weight and height limits depending upon the age of the child, starting from newborn to 12 years older.
Using a car seat that best suits your child could make your as well as their journey much more comfortable.
Child car seats have been divided into 2-Groups as detailed below:
Group 0+ Car Seats
In the cars eat ages and stages, Group 0+ car seats are for your newborns and toddlers depending upon their height and weight.
|Group number||Minimum Weight limit (lbs.)||Maximum Weight limit (lbs.)|
*0/0 group denotes = newborns’ weight
Group 0/0+ (7-28 lbs.):
- It will be useful for your baby from the age of 0-15 months or until they cross the weight limit for this car seat i.e. 28 lbs.
It can be attached to the pushchair chassis to convert it into a travel system.
Note: don’t use car seats as a sleeping place for the newborns at home as it may cause a cervical issue to them.
Group 0+/1+ (28-40 lbs.):
This car seat is convertible means that it has both rear and forward-facing features.
- It can be used from the age of infancy to 4 years
- It can be permanently installed in your vehicle
- Your baby will travel in this seat until they are 4+ years old and healthier than 40 lbs.
Note: some baby car seat manufacturers allow forward-facing to1-year-old children; however, it is not much safe. Therefore, parents are advised to avoid it.
Group 0+1/2 (40-55 lbs.):
The majority of the parents like to buy car seats in Group 0/0+ and 0+/1 and then switch to Group 1+ directly.
PS: The reason is that most of the Group0+1/2 car seats have not been reviewed as safe due to their poor harness system.
- The Group 0+1/2 car seat will remain in use until your child crossed the age of 7 years or 55 lbs.
Group 0+1/2/3 (55-80 lbs.):
It is the last one in Group 0+.
- This baby car seat will protect your child while in the car until they are allowed for an adult seat belt i.e. 12+ years or 80 lbs.
Group 1 Car Seats
In the car seat ages and stages, Group 1 car seats are for your toddlers and preschoolers, depending upon their height and weight.
Minimum Weight limit (lbs.)
Maximum Weight limit (lbs.)
Group 1 (19-40 lbs.):
The Group 1 car seats will remain your travel partner until:
- It can be utilized until your baby is healthier than 4 lbs., which is the maximum weight limit for Group 1.
Group 1/2/3 (35-80 lbs.):
The Group 1/2/3 car seats will protect your child while traveling until:
- They crossed the maximum weight limit for this seat i.e. 80 lbs.
Note: Car seats in this group usually don’t have a harness system or seat belt. If you have this car seat, you can use vehicle’s adult seat belt if necessary or buy one that offers an extended harness system.
Group 2/3 (35-80 lbs.):
Group 2/3 lies in the third category of Group 1. It will assist your child in riding in the car until:
- They have outgrown the maximum weight limit for Group 2/3 i.e. 80 lbs.
Group 3 (35-80 lbs.):
Group 3 will remain your child’s travel partner until:
- They crossed the maximum weight limit for Group 3 i.e. 80 lbs.
Car Seat Weight Chart
Car seat ages and stages of your child can easily be determined with the help of car seat weight chart. It gives you an idea of the weight limit for infants, toddlers, and booster car seats and the right weight to begin using an adult seat belt:
Related: Car Seat Weight Chart
Types of Car Seats by Age
There are four types of car seats by age designed to take your newborn as well as school-going children safely to longer rides.
Different Car Seat Ages and Stages
There are 2 car seat ages and stages by position i.e. rear-facing and forward-facing. Newborns and infants are strictly advised to ride rear-facing while toddlers and elder than toddlers can ride forward-facing.
Car Seat Progression Chart
Baby car seats have 4 progression periods: infants, toddlers, booster, and adult seat belts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What car seat should my child be in?
The type of car seat in which your baby is safe and sound depends on their weight, height, and age. For example, infant car seats are for children of age 0-2 years, weight 5-30 lbs. and height of 35 inches.
You can check the car seat weight chart for the appropriate seat guide for your child.
When do you change car seats?
When your child has outgrown the weight, height, and age limit of their car seat is the right time to change their car seat.
When to switch car seats?
When your child has crossed the age, weight, and height limit of their car seats e.g. infant car seat age, height, and weight limits are 0-2 years, 35 inches, and 5-30 lbs. respectively, you should switch to the forward-facing car seat.