Being the parents who have to travel frequently, you must have questions regarding child safety and car seat law in your mind, such as when can baby face forward in car seat 2022, and how long rear-facing car seat you should use.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), your child can ride face forward when they are:
“At least 2 years old or have crossed the weight and height limit for rear-facing i.e. 30 lbs. and 32 inches”
When Can Baby Face Forward in Car Seat 2022?
According to the baby car seat laws:
“When your child has outgrown the weight and height limit of their rear-facing car seat, is the right time when can baby face forward in car seat 2022 (updated)”
Typically, the children of:
Height: 32 inches
Weight: 30+ lbs.
Age: 2+ years
Are allowed to sit in forward-facing car seats.
Rear facing vs Forward Facing Statistics showed that the rear-facing car seats had 96% injury-reducing capability compared to forward-facing car seats.
That is why it is recommended to the parents not to allow their child to travel forward-facing until they have grown to 4 years old.
The rear-facing car seats are logically positioned rearward to:
- Face forward its backrest toward the front side of the vehicle so that it could absorb the maximum crash forces
- Minimize the chances of injury to their most sensitive and developing body parts such as the head, neck, and spine with its additional backrest support system
For parent’s further satisfaction, we are going to elaborate on the basic requirements for forward-facing car seats below:
When Do You Transition From Infant Car Seat? Car Seat Transition Ages
There are 4 types of baby car seats to be used as your child grows from the age of infancy to childhood. The Car seat ages and stages are described below:
1. When Can Baby Face Forward in Car Seat 2022? Infant Car Seat
Infant car seats are designed and selected keeping in view the minimum and maximum possible height of the children during the infancy-to-toddler phase.
Infant car seat:
Height limit: 20-32 inches
Weight limit: 30-35 lbs.
Age limit: 0-2+ years
2. Convertible Car Seat
As the name indicates, convertible car seats are both, rear and front-facing. You can use it for rear-facing for your infant and forward-facing when they have grown to 2+ years.
Convertible car seats:
Height limit: 20-49 inches
Weight limit: 7-65 lbs.
Age limit: birth-7+ years
The high-back booster and then backless booster with or without a seat belt seat are designed for children who have crossed the age limit for convertible car seats.
Note: It must be used with a vehicle seat belt and is forward-facing only. The minimum and maximum height, weight, and age limits for this car seat are:
Height limit: 49-62 inches
Weight limit: 60-120 lbs.
Age limit: 8-12+ years
Types of car seats in phase 4 may be:
- High back booster seat
- Backless booster seat
- Combination car seat
- All-in-one car seat
- Integrated booster seat
Why Rear Facing Car Seat are Safer?
Why rear facing baby car seats considered the safest option for infants?
According to the Rear Facing vs Forward Facing Statistics, the child riding rear-facing does not get any severe injuries in violent car crashes compared to those riding forward-facing.
Moreover, rear facing is safe because
- they are fragile, and most of their body parts are still under development
- They are unable to protect themselves in the best way
- They are unable to hold their head up independently
- Their vertebral column doesn’t have developed enough instead in the developing phase. If they get a spine injury in a violent car crash, it would be impossible for them to recover ever.
Therefore, being parents, you should decide on your child’s car seat and when can your child face forward in it.
How Long Rear Facing Car Seat are Safe? When Can Baby Face Forward in Car Seat 2022?
The immune system of newborn babies has not developed completely, so they are advised to stay indoors as much as possible.
PS: if you want to reveal more about the best time for your baby to travel, you can read our article how soon can a newborn travel long distance by car”
However, for unavoidable traveling, there are some conditions for them, such as:
- They must ride in rear-facing car seats
- They should be strapped correctly (Newborn car seat straps in the correct position) to make sure that they would be safe in the car
There are a few basic reasons not to switch to forward-facing too soon.
1. Risk of injury is higher in forward-facing car seats:
In frontal, rear, and side impacts, a rear-facing car seat is capable to protect infants and toddlers the most.
The following comparison between both types of positioning in car seats will be convincing for the parents to use rear-facing seats until their child grows to 4 years old.
|Safety level facts||Rear-facing car seats||Forward-facing car seats|
|Injury minimizing effect||96 %||77 %|
|Risk of severe injuries||8-12 %||40 %|
|Neck loads in a 30mph crash||50 kg||300 kg|
|Safety level||5 times more||Not as safe as rear-facing|
2. Their bodies have not been developed properly:
The body of a newborn baby, until they are 12-18 months old, remains under a lot of
- Their head accounts for 25 % of their total body weight (in a car crash, it is thrown forward with unusual force, increasing the risk of their neck muscles and spine damage)
- Their immune system is not strong enough
- Their recovery chances from internal injuries are the minimum and in some cases, impossible.
Therefore, to keep them possibly safe, they should be in rear-facing car seats for as long as 4years.
3. Risk of injury to baby’s spine:
“It only takes only 1/4 inch of stretch before your child’s fragile spinal cord is at risk of rupturing”
The car seat manufacturers used to perform car crash impact tests on baby dummies to check how damaging it could be for the child riding rear-facing and for those riding forward-facing.
Until now, it has been found that children under age 2 are less likely to receive severe injuries while sitting rearward compared to those riding forward-facing.
We have discussed when can baby face forward in car seat 2022 from a safety and danger point of view.
Keeping a short story long “it is safe for your child to travel rear-facing until they outgrow the age, weight, and height limit for rear-facing car seats”.
When can baby face forward in car seat 2021?
When your baby is 2 years old and has crossed the height (32 inches) and weight (30 lbs.) limit for a rear-facing car seat is the time to ride forward-facing. However, the safest age limit is 4+ years.
When can babies face forward in car seat?
If your child is fulfilling the forward-facing car seat’s requirements such as age (2+ years), weight (35+ lbs.), and height limit (32 inches), they will be allowed to ride front-facing.
When to turn car seat around would be safe?
Convertible baby car seats should turn around when your child outgrows the age, weight, and height limit for it. When your child is 2+ years old, you can allow them to sit forward face in car seats.
Is it safe turning car seat around before 2?
Not at all. According to the car seat laws, you cannot allow your child to ride forward-facing until they have crossed the age, weight, and height limit or it.
At what age do you turn the car seat around?
At the age of 2 or 3 years, the parents are allowed to take their children in cars in the forward-facing position. For your child’s safety, they are strictly prohibited to travel forward-facing before the age of 2.