Transitioning your little one from their infant car seat to their long-term convertible seat is a big milestone! The same car seat that you likely carried them home from the hospital in won’t contain their growing body forever, so here’s what you need to know about transitioning into a larger car seat.
When are they big enough?
Every car seat and manufacturer is different, so there is no one answer that will fit every child. Read the height and weight limits for your seat and be sure your child has met the maximum height or weight limit of the seat before switching.
Rear or front facing?
Once your child is ready to move up to a convertible car seat, it’s best to keep them rear-facing as long as possible in accordance to the manufacturers recommendations for the seat. As their legs get longer and their interest in the world around them grows, it can be hard to keep them happily facing back, but all experts agree that age two, if not older, is the safest milestone to transition them to forward-facing.
Convertible car seats
Once your baby is ready to graduate from their infant car seat, the next car seat will be theirs for the long-haul so do your research. If you have a mid-sized car and two or more children, I always recommend the Diono Radian. We chose Diono for all three of our kids, and successfully avoided a van purchase with these svelte seats. Diono seats can fit three across most mid-sized vehicles, so for big families they’re a must. Over the holidays, my sister asked our advice on which car seat we recommended for my 10 month old niece. With a baby on the way and a little one in tow, space is at a premium so of course, I said Diono.
Installation and Safety
There’s no cargo more precious than your little one, so read the instructions over and over again! You might want to also give your car manual a read too for installation tips, how to find your tethers, etc. Know your child’s exact height and weight so you can install the car seat in the correct position to accommodate your child perfectly. There are many local resources will offer free inspection services to give you tips and peace of mind as you install your child’s seat. Be sure to do your research and call ahead to confirm they have a certified car seat tech available for you.
We installed my niece’s seat rear-facing and in the middle of the car. This is the safest location when it is installed correctly, but of course will only work for her final few months as an only child. Once baby comes along, it’s recommended that the infant car seat always take precedent in the safest middle seat.
Other safety measures not to miss are removing your child’s coat before you buckle them up and removing any clutter from your car. In the event of an accident, clutter in the vehicle moves at warp speed and becomes dangerous for any passengers, especially the little ones. There are many cute toys designed to attach on to the car seat, but it’s best to avoid them for safety reasons. In the winter months it’s so hard to convince kids that they’re better off without their winter coat while the car heats up, and you might not win any fun mom points with your kids on that icy commute to daycare, but it’s worth it to assure their car seat fits properly and can protect them best.