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Switching Baby From an Infant Car Seat to a Convertible

Baby grows quickly! Find out the right age and weight to make the switch.
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profile picture of Erin van Vuuren
Updated February 12, 2020
mom putting her baby in to the car seat
Image: Getty Images

First things first: Read your car seat’s instructions, and check the height and weight limit for your particular seat. Then wait to switch until baby has reached one of those limits. Really there’s no rush—even if baby’s getting heavy when you carry him around in the infant seat’s handle.

“Rear-facing infant car seats offer the best support for babies’ heads, necks and spinal cords in the event of a car accident,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, family physician and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. “Hands down, they’re the safest way for babies to travel in a car.”

When you do make the switch to a bigger seat, that doesn’t mean you should switch the way baby faces in the car. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping kids rear facing until age 2. Rear facing is simply a much safer position for baby if there’s an accident.

So if baby is under 2 years old and outgrows her infant seat, it’s safest to move her up to a rear-facing convertible car seat. If she outgrows those limits after she turns 2, she can graduate to a forward-facing seat.

The Bump’s Car Seat Types infographic:

Image: Smart Up Visuals

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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