How much should a baby weigh to face forward in car seat?

How much should a baby weigh to face forward in car seat?

This is very important to parents for majorly two reasons –

  • To keep their children safe on transit: This is because death in motor vehicle crash is still the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older.
  • For the joy of transition for their children which signifies growth.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics in their new policy of April 2011, children should be placed in a rear facing seat until they are at least two (2) years or they meet the minimum weight and height needed to use a front facing seat.

In a new policy published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 21), the AAP advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.

Now lets talk about the average weight required for a child to use the front facing seat – “How much should a baby weigh to face forward in car seat“?

There are local laws which guides on this subject matter in some states;

Read Also: When can a Child sit in the front Seat?

Here are some available laws within the United States territory:

Source – Saferide4kids


Car Seat Law (32-5-222)

  • Law: Children through age 6 shall properly use an aftermarket or integrated child passenger restraint system which meets FMVSS 213 and use a size-appropriate restraint system which shall include the following:
    • Infant only seats and convertible seats used in the rear-facing position for infants until at least one year of age or 20 pounds
    • Convertible seats in the forward position or forward-facing seats until the child is at least five years of age or 40 pounds
    • Booster seats until the child is 6 years of age
    • Seat belts until 15 years of age


Car Seat Law (Section 27360 – 27368 of the Vehicle Code of California)

  • Law: Children under the age of 8 must be secured in the back seat of the vehicle in an appropriate child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
    • If the child is less than two years of age the child shall be properly restrained in a rear-facing child restraint system in a rear seat of the vehicle, unless the child is more than 40 pounds or 40 inches. (Effective Jan. 1, 2017)
    • Children under the age of 8 who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
    • Children who are 8 years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.


Car Seat Law (MCA 63-7-301)

  • Law: Children under the age of 4 year must be protected by properly using a child passenger restraint device or system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
    • Children at least 4 years of age but less than 7 and who measure less than 4’9″ or weigh less than 65 pounds shall use a belt positioning booster seat system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

See all United States car seat laws here – Check for your states.

Read AlsoTraffic violation – Reasons for violation and some traffic violations

In conclusion, considering how much a baby should weigh to face forward in car seat, the least weight should be 20 pounds (9.1kg).

According to The American Academy of PediatricsThe previous policy, from 2002, advised that it is safest for infants and toddlers to ride rear-facing up to the limits of the car seat, but it also cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as a minimum.

By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

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