Forward Facing Car Seat Safety

Did you know that September is Child Passenger Safety Month? I’ve written a few posts about car seats in the past and wanted to share with you guys about our experience with transitioning C to forward facing harness car seat after his third birthday.

This week marks Child Passenger Safety Week specifically and we are really happy with the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster seat for C. It’s a simple installation and the security and life of this car seat is great. I especially like the Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness feature that lets me adjust the harness and headrest together as C grows.

Forward Facing Car Seat Safety

We chose extended rear-facing for C until this summer when he turned three years old. With his new Graco Nautilus Snuglock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster seat, we’ll be able to transition him through when he is old/big enough to sit in it as a backless booster without arm rests. There are also two other modes in between that we will use as he grows in the next few years.

Highback Booster for when he is at least 43″ tall and at least 4 years old and Backless Booster after that phase up to when he is 100 lbs or 57″ inches tall.

forward facing car seat at 3

Forward Facing Car Seat Safety

Now that we have two kids in forward facing seats, here are a few basic forward-facing car seat safety tips we try to adhere to:

  • Chest clip should be level with your child’s armpits
  • Pinch test: when tightening the harness straps, check at your child’s collarbone to ensure you are unable to pinch any excess webbing. If you can pinch, then you need to tighten the harness
  • 1″ test: car seat should not move more than 1 inch from side to side or front to back for a secure installation
  • 80/20 rule: a minimum of 80% of the car seat base should be on the vehicle seat
C in his forward facing car seat
forward facing car seat safety
forward facing car seat

What We Did

We opted to do extended rear facing based on the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Recommendations. He was happy as a bug sitting RF, so we didn’t see any need to transition to forward facing at two. He was within the height and weight limits on RF also, so we felt good about our decision. We will also follow the built-in harness system guidelines for as long as possible as well.

With the Graco Nautilus Snuglock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster seat, we’ll be able to easily adjust his seats based on his growth in the next few years.

forward facing car seat harness

The AAP recently changed their recommendation that children ride rear-facing until the age of 2, stating that they should remain rear-facing as long as possible until they reach the maximum rear facing height or weight rating for their car seat no matter what age.

The AAP and NHTSA recommend that children should use the built-in harness system for as long as possible until they reach the maximum forward-facing weight or height for their car seat, and after reaching the maximum forward-facing weight and height, that children 4 feet 9 inches tall or under should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat.

Forward Facing Car Seat Safety

forward facing car seat safety

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My name is JeeYoung, a work at home mom to three boys. Consultant, Content Creator, Chaos Coordinator. This is a snippet of our happy chaos - mom life, family travel, easy recipes, home decor, and simple beauty. So happy you're here!

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