We started talking about how this next car seat she should think about how long she's going to use it. Is my niece going to be in this for the next 3+ years? Probably. (my son is 4-1/2 and is still in his from when he was 18 months) So I gave her my "2 cents" about how she should consider trying to keep my niece in the 5pt harness for as long as possible. That means buying a car seat that lets you keep them in the 5pt. harness for more then 40 lbs. BUT she also still has to use it backward facing at the minimum until she's a year old. Here's where the controversy came up at a recent family gathering. Both my mother (who is a mother of 5) and my other sister (mother of 2) told her that now our niece is 20lbs. they can turn the car seat around... NO! It's not just about weight, it's about spine development. I immediately recommended calling her pediatrician and get her thoughts on the matter. But the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends " All infants should always ride rear-facing until they are at least 2 year of age AND weigh at least 20lbs." Now my sister and my mother insisted I was being to protective. I had my other sister check with her peditrician, and guess what... I hate to say it but I was right. So I thought I'd share a quick guide here for you from the AAP web site.
|Infants||Infant seats and rear-facing convertible seats||All infants should always ride rear-facing until they are at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds.|
|Toddlers/Preschoolers||Convertible seats||It is best to ride rear-facing as long as possible. Children 1 year of age and at least 20 pounds can ride forward-facing.|
|School-aged children||Booster seats||Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats. Children should stay in a booster seat until adult belts fit correctly (usually when a child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age).|
|Older children||Seat belts ||Children who have outgrown their booster seats should ride in a lap and shoulder belt in the back seat until 13 years of age.|
Thanks to the AAP Car Seat Safety Guide 2009.
Also don't forget you can have your seat (any size) installed FREE professionally by a car seat safety inspector. To find out where check out www.seatcheck.org.