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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Forward Facing Car Seats

When is it time to turn your child forward facing in the infant-child car seat? Many parents wonder when it is safe to turn the child forward facing in the car seat. A child is safer using the rear facing position for as long as he meets the weight or height limit of the car seat. Most infant child car seats can be used in the rear facing position to 30 - 35 lbs (13.6 or 16 kg). Newer models can be used rear facing for children 40 - 50 lbs (18 or 22.7 kg).


Securing the child in the forward facing position

  • The harness straps come from above the shoulders when the car seat is used forward facing
  • Refer to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to adjust the harness
  • The harness should be snug so that only one finger fits between the harness and the infant’s collar bone
  • You should not be able to pinch a fold in the harness strap if it is tight.

Why would I need the child booster seat?

  • Some children outgrow the infant child seat because they are too tall for it
  • They are less than 40 lbs (18kg) so are too small for the booster seat
  • A child booster seat can be used because it is taller than the infant child seat
  • The harness can be used until the child has outgrown the weight limit for the harness
  • The upper weight limit varies from 40-65 lbs (18-30kg)
  • When the child is over 40 lbs (18kg) or is beyond the weight limit of the harness, the harness can be removed. The seat is now used as a booster seat

Installing the car seat in the vehicle

  • The seat should be in the upright position, unless the car seat instructions state the seat can be reclined
  • A tether strap must be used with all forward facing car seats
  • The tether strap is attached to the back of the seat and is fastened to an anchor in the vehicle. It limits how far forward the car seat moves in a collision. There is a risk of head and neck injuries to the child if the tether strap is not used. Check the vehicle owner’s manual to see where to attach the tether in the vehicle
  • The Universal Anchorage System (UAS) or the vehicle seat belt needs to be used when securing the car seat in the vehicle

Health Connection

Call Health Connection to speak with a Public Health Nurse from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

  • 519-663-5317 ext. 2280
  • Monday - Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Date of creation: September 1, 2012
Last modified on: April 5, 2018

Infant-Child Car Seat

Infant-Child Car Seat


Child Booster Seat

Child Booster Seat


Tether Strap

Tether Strap

A tether strap must be used with all forward facing car seats.