As much as it pains me to admit it, my baby is getting big. Oscar was born last September and we’re getting way too close to his first birthday for my comfort, but that we are. I was riding next to him in the backseat the other day and started to think about when we need to move him out of his infant carseat. With my older son Harry, we moved him into the convertible carseat right around his first birthday just by coincidence, but as I will need to purchase a new convertible for Oscar (Harry’s still in his) I decided to wait until I needed it. But when do you need it?
When your infant carseat’s weight limit has been reached. Each infant carseat has a slightly different weight limit, usually around 30-35lbs. If your baby is near, at, or above this weight limit, it is definitely time to swap the carseats.
When your infant carseat’s height limit has been reached. Just like weight limits, every infant carseat has a height limit. Typically, this limit is between 29-32 inches, but every carseat is slightly different.
If there is less than 1″ of hard plastic above your baby’s head. If your baby is long, you should pay attention to the space above their head in the infant carseat. If they get too close to the top–within 1 inch–it is time to switch to a convertible carseat.
By your baby’s first birthday. Though your baby may not have technically outgrown his carseat by his first birthday, a new study from Consumer Reports recommends switching into a rear-facing convertible carseat when your baby turns one. In testing, it was much more likely that the baby’s head would hit the back of the seat in front of him in an infant seat, after the age of one.
It is important to understand that just because you are switching your baby from an infant carseat to a convertible carseat, you do not have to swap from rear-facing to forward-facing. It is highly recommended that you continue to us a rear-facing convertible carseat when you transition out of the infant carseat.
Always make sure to pay attention to your specific infant carseat’s limitations as outlined in your manual. These are general guidelines and should be used in conjunction with your manual.