How Do I Know My Baby Has Outgrown The Infant Seat?

by Annelize Van Dyk

When to change the latest from an infant carrier to the toddler seat?

Step 1: Check the weight/height limitation of your seat

If your infant carrier is approved to ECE R44-04, then your seat has a maximum weight based on its approval. This maximum weight must not be exceeded. But this does not mean that you can always use your infant carrier until you have reached this maximum weight, often babies outgrow their seat in height before they reach the weight. For this, check step 2!
If your infant carrier is approved to UN R129, then it has a maximum height given by its approval. This maximum height must not be exceeded. In most cases, the maximum height marks the end of when you can use the seat, but in addition, also check step 2!

Step 2: Check the shoulder belts and distance to the top of the seat

When the uppermost point of the baby’s head is approx. 2 fingers away from the highest point of the seat shell, you should change to a toddler seat. Ideally, you should look for toddler seats already some time before your baby has reached this point. This 2-finger-distance is recommended since it includes a “buffer” for upwards movement in case of an accident. Such a movement can happen if the belts are not perfectly tightened. Even though we know that parents do their best to always tighten the belts correctly, it can happen – when in a rush or if the baby moves a lot – that the belts are not as tight as they should be.

Additionally, check how the shoulder belts are sitting on your baby’s shoulders and what your seat’s user manual advises about this. Most manufacturers say that the shoulder belts should not come from below your baby’s shoulders. So if the shoulder belts are not coming straight onto the shoulders anymore when having the headrest/belts in the highest setting, then it’s time to change as well.

You may need to switch even if your child has not reached the maximum weight. For optimum safety, you’ll need to move up to the next car seat stage when the top of your baby’s head comes up over the seat back. Tip: put your hand on the top of the back-seat, does the top of your baby’s head touch your hand? Time to move up to a new car seat!

Don’t be tempted to switch to a forward-facing car seat too soon. At Maxi-Cosi, we recommend that your child continues to travel in a safe rearward-facing position for as long as possible or at least up to 15 months.

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