If you have investigated already you will know there are a few different kinds/types of baby car seat that you can buy but most importantly there are 2 different “facing” car seat types. There are the rear-facing seats for babies and the forward-facing child car seats for older toddlers. The age or time when you change from a rear-facing seat to a forward facing child seat is absolutely critical to your child’s comfort and most importantly their safety. If you travel with your child in a forward-facing child car seat too soon you can be putting their life in danger and also risking permanent injury to their underdeveloped neck and back. The reason for this is that infant car seats provide much more support to the neck and back than forward facing car seats do so it is vital you don’t make the change too early.
The simplest and easiest way to know when your child is ready to make the switch from a rear-facing to a forward facing child seat is when they reach the maximum height and weight requirements of the infant car seat that you are using. Most infant safety seats will hold your baby safely up to around 30 inches tall and weighing around 35 pounds. If you haven’t used an infant seat then you can still use these height and weight requirements as a guideline. Until recently(around 2011), it was thought that it was safe to switch your baby into a forward-facing car seat at 12 months old, this is no longer the case and it is now recommended to wait until 18 months or older before you change your child into a forward-facing model – you can read more detailed infant car seat reviews here.
Our Top 3 Forward Facing Baby Car Seats
Name/Image Learn More Brand Rating Age Range Style Weight Product Dimensions
BabyTrend Hybrid 3-in-1 Baby Car Seat
View PriceFull Review Baby Trend 2 - 8 Years Forward Facing 14.3 Lbs 31.5 x 19.7 x 10.6"
Britax Pinnacle G1.1 ClickTight Review 2016
View PriceFull Review Britax 2 - 8 Years Forward Facing 26.9 Lbs 21 x 22.5 x 28"
Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster
View PriceFull Review Graco 2 - 8 Years Forward Facing 25.3 Lbs 18 x 20 x 28"
You can visit the NHTSA website here to find out more about new child seat safety regulations.
What’s good about forward facing car seats?
There are a number of advantages once your child has changed over to a forward-facing child seat. Firstly, your child gets to face the same way as the rest of the passengers, including mum and dad, in the car. This is a great feeling for them as they can see exactly what you can see, which let’s be honest, is one thing that frustrates your child when they are travelling rear-facing.
Secondly, we feel it is a little easier to get your baby into a forward-facing car seat that a rear-facing. This is mainly down to the fact they are larger and thus there is a little bit more room to maneuver when you are trying to fix your child into the seat.
Finally, forward facing child car seats do last a lot longer (age wise and height wise) than infant rear-facing car seats. You will find that the majority of forward facing child seats will have a lifespan of at least 3 to 4 years meaning they do provide better value for money than their rear-facing alternatives.
What to think about when purchasing a forward facing car seat
As we mentioned earlier the most important things to take into consideration when purchasing a forward facing car seat are the height, weight and age of your child. It is best to ensure that your little one meets ALL minimum requirements of the child safety seat you are looking to buy, before you buy it and start using it. This way you can be absolutely sure your child is going to be as safe as possible while you are travelling.
Some other factors to think about when buying a forward facing car seat are the harnessing options, the functionality used to fix the child seat into the car and of course the cushioning and side impact protection the seat has for safety. For example, if you are looking at a seat with ISOFIX, be sure to check with your car manufacturer to see if your vehicle is compatible or has ISOFIX fitted. With regard to the side impact protection, make sure the quality of foam used is “high energy absorbing”, this way you know that your child’s head and neck will be protected well in the event of an accident. For the harnessing, if you can it is best to “try before you buy” and we know brands such as Britax offer this on most products. Most high street stores will allow you to try out the various models they have available. This allows you to see how easy the seats are to install and secure your child into giving you useful information and knowledge before you buy your forward facing child car seat online.