Convertible Seat Alert: Kids Under 1 Years Old

January 18, 2016
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From the moment parents leave the hospital with their precious newborn, they will need a properly-installed infant car seat to safely transport their little one home.

As the child grows, parents will need to make sure the car seat “grows” with him. The next step up from an infant carrier would be a convertible car seat, and then eventually a booster seat would be used until the child is roughly 8 years old. The timing of these transitions is what tends to get a bit tricky, as a child’s weight, height, age and the individual car seat guidelines all have to be taken into account.

According to new findings by Consumer Reports, parents should actually be switching their children out of infant car seats and into convertible car seats sooner rather than later.

Results from a series of crash tests have shown that little ones should be transitioned from a rear-facing infant seat to a rear-facing convertible seat by no later than their first birthdays — even if they haven’t yet outgrown their infant seat.


These recommendations come from crash tests comparing both infant and convertible seats using 22-pound dummies that represent a 1-year-old child. The Consumer Reports testing simulated a frontal crash with the car travelling at 35 miles per hour.

In more than half (16 of 30) of the infant seats tested, the dummies’ heads hit the simulated front seat back. By contrast, this only happened once during testing of the convertible seats.

Via Consumer Reports

In reality, many children will have outgrown their infant seats based on the product specifications alone before age 1 anyway. The thing is, kids tend to outgrow seats by length before they outgrow them by weight. A good rule of thumb to follow, according to Consumer Reports, is a child should be moved to a convertible seat if his head is 1 inch or less from the top of the carrier’s shell.

Another important detail for parents to keep in mind is that children ages 2 and younger are safest in seats that are rear-facing, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Some states even require, by law, children younger than 2 to remain rear-facing.)

For more details on the safety ratings of specific car seats and other child car seat safety tips, visit this helpful resource page from Consumer Reports.

100 Comments

  1. Kathy Dunn

    February 13, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Hi. I’m so glad I can ask my very important question.

    I have a 14 month old grandson who, due to height, outgrew infant seat. His pediatrician (according to Charlie’s Mom) suggested a forward facing bigger seat. I think that’s wrong. He’s too young for forward facing seat.

    What rear facing seat is really good, won’t break me, and sits a little higher (for height)?

    Thanks!!

    • Kelli

      February 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Check out The Car Seat Lady or Car Seats for the Littles on Facebook and they should be able to give you some recommendations.

      We personally have a Diono Radian (runs about $250). Got it in Sept 2012 when my daughter was 9 months old. She just turned 4 in December and is still rear facing. She’ll never need another seat.

    • Bee R.

      February 16, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Kathy, we use the myride 65 for my son and plan to buy another for our baby on the way as well. We rear faced our son in this seat until he was 40 lbs, which was about 2 yes old for him (he is tall for his age) and was even comfortable enough for him on a road trip from California to Idaho (with breaks for diaper changes and leg stretching ofcourse).

  2. Melinda

    February 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    The thing is, kids tend to outgrow seats by length before they outgrow them by height.

    Aren’t length and height the same thing. Length is just referencing infants that can’t stand to get a height.

  3. Joyce Goff

    April 23, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Sonny Stovall

  4. Joyce Goff

    April 23, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Megan Stovall

  5. Jennie Jensen

    April 23, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Mandy Normoyle-Brown might be a good read

  6. Ashley Parent

    April 23, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Dylan

  7. Sari Saldaña

    April 23, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Tony Saldana

  8. Nena Trinidad

    April 23, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Yesenia Palma paque no se vaya a aser esperar como yo me siento culpable le pudo aver pasado algo a mi Vania asi como anduvo ya con la cabeza afuera de la silla

  9. April Evans

    April 23, 2016 at 2:42 am

    My daughter was in the last stage of the booster seat till she was 7. She was so petite. ..

  10. Brittany Cook Hoffman

    April 23, 2016 at 3:25 am

    Tiffany Cook Ditzel

  11. Christina Ocampo

    April 23, 2016 at 4:02 am

    John Gary Rubin Jr

  12. Alessandra Alejandro

    April 23, 2016 at 4:10 am

    My son is 4.5 yrs but tiny. hes in a convertible seat now. There’s lots of room above head – I just switched him from rear facing 6 months ago. My daughter is almost three and in a convertible forward and my 1 yr old is in the middle of them rear facing convertible.

    When should I put mr 4.5 in a booster seat??

    • Jess Wortman

      April 26, 2016 at 1:33 am

      5 is the absolute minimum, but most children aren’t ready until 6 or 7. Harnesses are safer, so keeping them harnessed until they reach the max limits is the safest option.
      Check out Car Seats for the Littles to get more information <3

    • Camille Eisenbart

      April 26, 2016 at 2:00 am

      Can I ask why you kept your oldest RF until almost 4, but your daughter is already FF at 2? As for when to move to a high back booster, you need to check your car seat manual for the seat’s limits/signs your child has outgrown it. There are several different things to look for: height, weight, ears in shell, and harness height.

  13. Heather Bartow

    April 23, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Moved my baby a month ago to a convertable im not taking any chances

    • Amanda Kissling

      August 27, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      What Is a convertible car seat mean?

  14. Yesi Galdamez

    April 23, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Carol Herrera Sanchez

  15. Juliana Berbat

    April 23, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Vanessa Macedo Navarro

  16. Jessika Garcia

    April 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Kathrin Handtke Francisco Posada

  17. Ariel Bauman

    April 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Brian Bauman

  18. Annabelle Berger

    April 24, 2016 at 2:32 am

    And today I had to take a ride with someone who don’t believe in seat belt or carseat and his 3 girls was all over the backseat

  19. Amy Yagmich-Waters

    April 24, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Brooke

  20. Erin Lundin Rocha

    April 24, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Christina Gaudern Lundin

  21. Jessica Jurado Gonzalez

    April 26, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Rosa Garcia Pulido

  22. Sandy Tanzola

    April 26, 2016 at 1:11 am

    There is info on the mto website look it up and it will tell you everything you need to know. My daughter is 5 yrs old and weights 34 lbs she will not be in a booster seat for a long time.

  23. Andrea Diaz

    April 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Moved my son at 8 months to a rear facing stage 2. He will be rear facing till at least 40 lbs. That’s just the ship we run

    • Jaime Rodin

      April 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      My 6yr old weighs 39lbs. There is no way he could be rear facing.

    • Andrea Diaz

      April 26, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      To each their own..my guy is small. Tall but small..and he will rear face as long as possible.

  24. Courtney Jordan

    April 26, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    A properly installed rear facing convertible is just as safe as an infant bucket seat.

    • Camille Eisenbart

      April 26, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      That’s not what this article is even addressing. It’s saying that the latest data shows children should be transitioned to a RF convertible seat from the bucket seat no later than their first birthday, even if the bucket seat limits haven’t been reached.

    • Courtney Jordan

      April 26, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      That was in response to someone else’s comment…

  25. Stephanie Church

    April 27, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Becca Elizabeth

  26. Leeanna

    May 9, 2016 at 2:22 am

    The “Grow With Me” car seat at Walmart is what my little girl is in, she’s 18 lbs and over 2 ft tall now… but the car seat goes from 8 lbs to like 65 lbs I believe… It starts rear facing and reclines and expands up and out at the legs and feet too for front facing… She won’t need another car seat for quite sometime…. Absolutely love it!!! It was about $200 …. Its sooo worth it, especially for as long as you will be able to use it!

    • Leeanna

      May 9, 2016 at 2:23 am

      And she’s only 6 months old!

  27. Michelle Eden-Duval

    June 11, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Tanis Loughran have you seen this? Thoughts?

  28. Abby Wright

    June 11, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Sarah Chasez something might be worth reading

    • Sarah Chasez

      June 11, 2016 at 1:53 am

      Yes. We actually brought our daughter home in a convertible car seat.

    • Abby Wright

      June 11, 2016 at 1:55 am

      Sarah Chasez safety first, just thought you be interested in this! , have a great weekend

    • Zoe Annemieke Bakker

      June 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Please check with a certified car seat technician because this information is NOT accurate!

  29. Felix Avellaneda

    June 11, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Crystal Avellaneda

  30. Anya Uvina

    June 11, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Michelle Chavarria

  31. Heather Simmons

    June 11, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Joe Maggiolino

  32. Julie Hawke

    June 11, 2016 at 2:33 am

    Scooby Farrell Kate Hawke Liz Hawke

  33. Michelle Mcquaid

    June 11, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Jennifer Fennelly

    • Jennifer Fennelly

      June 11, 2016 at 3:47 am

      We got him a new one last week! He was ready to get out of that infant seat lol

  34. Pati Smilez

    June 11, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Ellie Carreño

  35. Brooke Doolan

    June 11, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Carly McDonnell

    • Carly McDonnell

      June 11, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Sooo mine is good?

    • Brooke Doolan

      June 11, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Carly McDonnell don’t remember , I more meant the age too tho, as most ppl turn bubs around too early to forward facing

    • Carly McDonnell

      June 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Brooke Doolan yeah I heard it later these days.. I’m in no rush to turn her..

  36. Tasha Dupre

    June 11, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Eric Dupre

  37. Samantha Jaennette

    June 11, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Austyn-Taylor Walline ugh

    • Austyn-Taylor Walline

      June 11, 2016 at 4:15 am

      OMG see! Haha I give up lol
      So she needs to be out of that seat…
      But still in one rear facing!
      I even called the sheriff station last night an got mixed answers!!
      The law goes into place in Jan 17 in California
      2 years or 40lbs or 40inches! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  38. Angelina Gambina Scott

    June 11, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Allyson Graham

  39. Diana Leticia

    June 11, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Saul Ruiz

    • Diana Leticia

      June 11, 2016 at 4:52 am

      I think Saulito might be ready for the next step….

  40. Jasmine Brady

    June 11, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Matthew Brady

  41. Nichole Tiara Vasquez

    June 11, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Adrian

  42. Hertenstein Loreli

    June 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Scott Hertenstein

  43. Cynthia Ferreira

    June 11, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Leslie Ortiz

  44. Janice Fung

    June 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Mary To-Truong

  45. Stacey Howlett

    June 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Dana McGinnis Brenna Christine Christine Campbell

  46. Shaina Principe Torres

    June 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Arielle Samarelli

  47. Catharine Watkins

    June 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Jessica Halleran

  48. KaYee Wong

    June 11, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Jody Ketefian FYI

  49. Aine Ni Bhanain

    June 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Barry Colclough

  50. Jen Michele

    June 12, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Kyle Curtis this might be worth checking out….???

  51. Denise Soto

    June 12, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Carlos Soto

  52. Erika Perez

    June 13, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Jose Victoria

  53. Teresa Pasillas Noory

    August 27, 2016 at 2:33 am

    Osman Noory

  54. Chana Taylor Wald

    August 27, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Christina Marie Clark

  55. Crystal Avellaneda

    August 27, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Felix Avellaneda

  56. Gaby Colunga

    August 27, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Mike Ferrara

  57. Fernanda Baldi Pontoni

    August 27, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Luciana Coelho Bianca Simões Polimeno Michelle Timoteo Fernanda Fernandes Cunha

  58. Shantel Hernandez

    September 27, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Victor Alaniz we gotta switch asap

  59. Tina Nguyen

    September 27, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Sereyroth Veng

  60. Giana DePasquale

    September 27, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Nicole Fernandes

  61. Jessica Navarro

    September 27, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Chelis Mena

  62. Yahaira Vidana

    September 27, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Carla Vidana look

  63. Tara Reid

    September 27, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Jason Reid let’s get Kobes a car seat like Kaleb ASAP

  64. Heather Simmons

    September 28, 2016 at 12:07 am

    Joe Maggiolino ivy’s at least 20lbs

  65. Jocelyn Swayne

    September 28, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Carrie Rootz-Morales

  66. Janet Miller

    September 28, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Jen Miller Prudlow

  67. Jody Wright

    September 28, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Vanessa Ursel this is interesting

  68. Judi Jones

    September 28, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Kristin your thoughts on this, plus it won’t let me read the article for some reason

  69. Elizabeth Lovern

    September 28, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Joshua Lovern we need to start looking at car seats

  70. Teresa Perez Limon

    September 28, 2016 at 3:28 am

    Dora Perez-Robles

  71. Gemma Noys

    September 28, 2016 at 4:50 am

    Sophie Robertson I have a seat if you need one

  72. Carlee Olsen

    September 28, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Bella Bruce

  73. Jee Kim Smith

    September 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Jeff Smith

  74. Alicia Garza De García

    September 28, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Johnnathan Garcia Pope

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