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When to move baby out of infant car seat? [Answered]

When To Move Baby Out Of Infant Car Seat

📄 Table of Contents

Infant car seats are mandatory to use for traveling from hospital to home after birth in almost every state of the U.S. However, moving your baby from an infant  seat to upgrade levels can be luxuriously safe but also pricey for moms and dads. The average cost of a convertible car seat parents have to bear is $175, which is not in the budget for everyone. 

But for the sake of the baby’s protection during traveling , this price is worthy. Baby seats are mandatory though parents need to know when to move the baby out of the infant  seat according to their baby’s size and weight. Don’t rush out, and there is s a rule of 2 years that every kid has to reach for the transition from an infant to a convertible seat. 

Depending on which state you live in, it’s crucial to update yourself with the latest baby  seat usage guidelines. Although the usefulness of baby seats depends on their proper fitting and kid’s size, weight, and age. The availability of car seats from multiple brands with different configurations is overwhelming. In this article, you will get details of different types of baby seats:

  • An infant car seat
  • A convertible car seat
  • Booster car seat

Infant car seat

Infant seats are rear-facing with some limitations compared to others. These car seats offer the safest place for newborn and infants to travel. Their defense mechanism prevents the baby’s head and spinal cord from jerking during accidents.

Benefits of using an infant car seat? 

  • It provides dads and moms with maximum maneuverability. They can quickly move their baby with a carrying handle without removing them from car seats. At the same time, the detachable base installed in the car can be rapidly separated with the click of a button.
  • It also comes with a travel system, which embraces a compatible stroller and car seat. So, when coming out of the car, parents need to attach a baby car seat with the stroller, and they are good.
  • The infant car seat lets your sleeping baby have a calming sleep without disturbance or awaking your baby when getting out of the car. 
  • Lighter in weight.

How long you can use an infant car seat?

Many infant seats have a full recline option and come with a newborn insert for utmost comfort. Moreover, it has a 5-point harness for the baby’s protection. You can start using infant’s seats:

  • Directly after childbirth with the newborn insert until your baby reaches up to 11 to 15 pounds. 
  • Up to the minimum age of 2 years. 

But when does a baby outgrow an infant car seat? It depends on either of the following conditions: 

  • When your child reaches a weight between 30 to 35 pounds. 
  • Or their head is less than 1-inch from the shell of the car seat when buckled.

Most kids outgrow the height limit earlier than the weight limit. According to the updated recommended usage of rear-facing car seats by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a kid should remain in infant car seats or rear-facing convertible car seats for as long as possible. Whereas the most petite kids can wait for two years to transition to upgrade level.

Convertible car seat

Like infant car seats, convertible car seats have the exact defense mechanism. It is designed to provide easy of use, either rear-facing or forward facing. Experts recommend using rear-facing for no less than the first two years.

💡 Rear-facing convertible seats have more significant limitations than rear-facing infant car seats!

Benefits of using a convertible car seat for your baby

  • Budget-friendly combination of 2-in 1.
  • It gives more endurance in terms of functionality but less portability because it is heavier than an infant seat.
  • You can switch it to multiple positions.
  • Many parents make a switch swiftly to front-facing before meeting the requirements. Because they find it easy to interact with their children in this direction, that may help avoid their car sickness.

The convertible car seat can only be used in cars, not outside. Before switching to front-facing convertible car seats, makes sure your kid is about 20 lbs of weight or up to four years . When using convertible car seats, use a 5-point harness until your kid surpasses any of the following car seat’s age or size limits. 

1. When your kid smacks to 4 years or 40 to 50 pounds of weight. 

2. Your toddler’s head is below from the top shell of the convertible car seat.

💡 Don’t be in a hurry to transition from convertible to booster!

Booster seat

This either comes with back support or without aback. The protection mechanism all depends on appropriate contact of car seat belt mainly to shoulder, chest, and across the upper thighs. 

Benefits of using a booster seat

  • Ideally bridges up the gap for the children who become significant for a convertible car seat but short for a seat belt to shield them. 
  • These car seats with back support give your kid’s body extra impact protection. 

How long can you use a high-back booster?

  • Until your child reaches up to 40lbs or weight
  • Up to at least four years of age. 

Before switching your baby out of the infant car seat, some do’s and don’ts

Moving your baby from an infant-only to a convertible set is a significant step emotionally and financially. Therefore, moms and dads whose kids are ready for this stage must think about these essential safety concerns


1. Correct car seat installation

Before installing convertible car seats, make sure to read the manufacturer instruction manual of both the car seat and the vehicle. You can attach a car seat either with a seat belt or latch. Keeping at least 1-inch space for movement from side to side or front to back is vital. 

2. Face the correct direction and proper harnessing

For the ultimate protection of the baby, moms and dads need to follow the correct direction for car seat facing. Moreover, the harnessing must not be too tight or loose for babies. In front-facing, the harness should be at or above the child’s shoulders, while in rear-facing, these straps must be at or below the shoulders of your child. 

3. Be aware of statewide laws

In whichever U.S state you live in, you must know your state laws regarding child passenger safety. However, according to the car crash tests, it is observed that babies are less injured from the head, neck, and legs when sitting in rear-facing car seats. Therefore, AAP recommends using this direction as long as you can. 

4.  Check for buckle fitting

Always check for snug fitting of buckles of straps across the chest. And the position of the chest clip should be even with your toddler’s armpit level. 


1. Buying used convertible car seats

If you use a second-hand car seat, be confident about its parts, condition, expiration date, and recalls.

2. Not removing bulky outwear

Your baby’s safety all depends on the straps fitting. If the straps could not be appropriately fit due to your kid’s bulky outwear, then it’s better to take them off and replace them with a blanket after harnessing to keep your child warm. 

Final word

Choosing the best car seat as per your child’s requirements is all matters. You need to be aware of all the state laws regarding their child’s protection during traveling. According to the car seat manufacturer’s manual instructions, be sure about correct fitting and buckle the safety clips. 

Parents Also Ask

How long are babies considered newborns?

Typically, a baby between 0 to 2 months is considered a newborn. During this age, babies are inactive, and the only way of communication is crying. 

How do you drive a baby alone?

You must need to follow these tips. 
Choose the right baby car seat
Try not to feed a baby in the car
Don’t offer stuffed toys
Correctly install the car seat
Install a mirror
Check the proper fitting of straps and buckles
Check for seat expiration date
Register your car seat

Should the baby seat go behind the driver or passenger?

A car seat is a securest place for your kid. It should be installed in the car’s back seat, whether behind the passenger or driver. The main reason it is in the back is to protect babies from airbags in case of accidents because airbags can seriously injure babies.

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