It’s a momentous day at Baby Got Chat. My oldest child, who is just past 4.5 years old, has reached 40 pounds. It’s a goal we’ve had our eye on for a long time coming, because it’s associated with an important milestone: moving to a forward facing car seat!
It’s been so nervewracking to figure out when to forward face, because you never know when they are going to experience a growth spurt that brings them to 40 pounds. Kids grow at a pretty predictable rate during the first few years, then there’s a slowdown where it’s hard to predict how quickly they will go from, say, 35 pounds to 40.
A few years ago we assumed we’d be turning our daughter’s seat on her fourth birthday, but then the forward-facing recommendation was changed to be weight-based rather than age-based, so we reset our milestone from 4 years old to 40 pounds. (Note: though 40 pounds/the car seat weight limit max is the recommendation, a new law has been passed setting the minimum legal age to forward face in New York at 2 years old. This law goes into effect on November 1, 2019.)
So instead of planning a birthday a turning ceremony back in December, when she was only 36 pounds, we’ve been on standby until she gained those four pounds to reach her milestone. Eight months later, here she is!
My husband dragged out the manual to make sure he actually knew how to forward face our Graco 4Ever seat, since the straps and recline levels are different for forward facing versus rear facing. Give yourself about thirty minutes to thread, adjust and tighten everything to get the perfect fit. And don’t forget you can call your police station or fire department if you want an expert to look over your work before you put your child inside.
She was very excited to flip, because now she has a great view of everything that’s happening on the road…for better or for worse! I had a few moments of wishing I had bought the car seat that rear faces to 50 pounds because I’m not sure if I need a back seat critic providing commentary as I shuttle her butt all over town.
She likes being able to see her brother better. He is 2.5 and still rear facing, but his seat has high sides so when they were both rear facing it was hard to see around the cocoon of his car seat. Now they can interact better and hand each other things.
Funnily enough, given that this is the biggest misconception with rear facing older kids, now that she is forward facing she can’t get her legs comfortable! She doesn’t know where to put them anymore. I think she liked resting them against the back of the seat, and now they hang down or have to be propped up on the car seat foot ledge.
But overall she’s pretty happy and we’re glad to reach this milestone. Our next milestone is 65 pounds or 49 inches high, whichever comes first. Then we can move to a booster seat.
The crazy thing is our 2.5 year old boy is already 34 pounds, so I’m just hoping his weight plateaus so I can keep him rear facing until at least 4 as well. Or else I may need that 50-pound rear facing seat after all!
Rear facing as long as possible is the safest way to transport your kids, and don’t forget to make sure you always buckle them in securely (chest clips high and tight!) You’re their only chance to arrive alive, so don’t slack (har har) on safety.
And since we’re talking about car safety, we’re in that summer sadness streak of new stories about kids in hot cars. Did you know you can turn on a feature in Waze to give you a car seat reminder at the end of every trip? I’ve seen some parents scoff that they would never, ever do such a thing, but not being too proud to admit we are all human and all get tired or distracted sometimes could save a life. Take the extra step for safety’s sake. And turn it on for anyone who transports your kids too. It’s worth the peace of mind to know Grandma, Grandpa, or the babysitter will have an extra reminder just in case.
And just in case you need a reminder why it’s so important to take car safety seriously in the summer, here’s an infograph from our friends at CarRentals.com:
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See you next time!