Car Seats: When to Move to the Next Stage
Car Seats for children are generally categorized into four different stages, with the fifth and final stage being the movement to a full-fledged adult vehicle seat. Most of us probably have a vague memory of the pride we felt as a kid when we finally got to sit without a car seat, and even moreso when we were allowed to sit up front next to the driver.
But long before that stage arrives, kids go through the car seat phases. When is the right time to move onto a stage two car seat?
Stage two car seats are generally accepted as being intended for toddlers. Size is a more important determinant than age, and so it’s time to move up when your child has outgrown their first, rear-facing car seat. Check the weight or height limit on the car seat they’re using to determine if they have outgrown it yet.
Note: You may notice that we use the word “generally” quite a bit in this post. That’s because this information is all flexible depending on the child and situation.
What age should a child be to use a stage two car seat?
As children grow at different rates, size is considered more important than age, but the general age for increasing to the stage two car seat can be from approximately six months to two years old. The stage two car seat is generally used until a child is four years old, but again, height and weight are the most important factors.
Read More: Texas Car Seat Safety Tips
When should I upgrade to a stage three car seat?
Refer to the car seat manufacturer for information on how much weight your car seat can accommodate. Many can accommodate children up to 65 pounds and more. Height-wise, it’s all about the ears- once your child’s ears reach the highest point of the headrest in its maximum position, it’s time to upgrade.
How long should I use a rear-facing seat?
Though many interpret stage 2 seats as being forward-facing, many can actually be used in both directions. It’s considered much safer to keep a child rear-facing, so do this as long as you can. According to official regulations, children must remain facing the rear for at least fifteen months, but it’s recommended to keep them rear-facing until they’re four years old, and preferably even longer.
Keep this in mind when buying your stage two car seat; many of them can be used in both front and rear configurations. It’s been proven to be five times safer for children up to four years of age to travel rear-facing. Also, make sure the seat you’re buying can be adjusted in height and leg space, enabling it to “grow” with your child.
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