When to Upgrade Car Seat? Switch Infant Car Seat

It can be tough to know when to buy a new car seat. After all, you want your child to be as safe as possible while riding in the car, but you also don’t want to spend too much money on something they may outgrow quickly.

So, When to upgrade car seat ?

You should look to upgrade the car seat for your child when you see they have surpassed the weight and/or height limit of the seat, which usually is 30-35 pounds and 30-32 inches. Another sign you can look for is if the head of your baby is an inch or more above the top of the seat when buckled in.

When to Upgrade Car Seat

What Are The Types Of Car Seats?

With so many car seats on the market, it may be tough to decide which one is best for your little bundle of joy. In this blog post, we will run through each type of seat available and let you know which would be most appropriate according to your child’s age/height/weight.

Rear-Facing Infant Car Seats

The weight limit for most of these seats is between 5 and 30/35 pounds, but it is best to check your car seat’s instruction manual to be sure. Unlike other types of seats, the bucket variety can be detached from its base, making it possible to remove the baby from the car without removing them from its seat.

Convertible Car Seats

Convertible car seats are called such because you can use them for children of different ages. They usually start at 5 pounds like an infant bucket seat, and can be a rear-facing seat until the child is 40 pounds.

If the kid is 1 year old and 20 pounds, the convertible car seat can become a forward-facing seat for up to 65 pounds. Although keeping them rear-facing is suggested by most experts unless the child reaches the maximum height or weight limits for that guideline.

All-in-one Car Seats

All-in-one car seats are just starting to gain popularity on the market, but they’ve already taken over. They let you buy one car seat and be done with it for good! The only disadvantage is that they cannot be removed from the vehicle while on errands or creating a travel system.

Combination Booster Car Seats

It’s been established time and again that a five-point harness is the most effective in keeping children safe in the event of a collision. This guide will explain when to upgrade your car seat and what to look for when shopping for your next booster seat, whether an infant or toddler. You should note that while brand-specific weight limitations exist, most five-point boosters start at 25 pounds and can reach as high as 120 pounds.

Children who weigh approximately 40 pounds can transition from a harness to only a seatbelt. However, the shoulder belt must lay across the shoulder and not come close to the neck or face. It is highly recommended that children use a five-point harness until they have completely outgrown it.

Booster Seat for Belt Positioning

You may start using a belt-positioning booster seat when your child is 40 pounds and 38 inches tall. If your kid isn’t quite tall enough to use the booster portion of the seat, you can usually remove the backs of these seats so they can continue to use it to assist the lap belt in sitting properly across their chest.

Remember that, even if your child isn’t in the car, you should always buckle them in since they might become flying objects in case of an accident.

When To Upgrade Car Seat?

Your Child Has Outgrown Their Infant Car Seat

Most rear-facing infant seats have weight restrictions of 30 pounds or more but few, if any, height limitations. So don’t be shocked if your kid outgrows the infant seat before they reach the weight restriction. The greatest option is to purchase a convertible seat, which can face the front or back of the vehicle and keep your child facing backward safely.

When Your Child Turns One Year Old

Our latest findings show that it is best to switch to a rear-facing convertible seat when your child turns one and still fits in a rear-facing infant seat. In our research, we discovered that one-year-old children are more susceptible to hitting their heads on the back of front seats while wearing rear-facing infant seats than they would be if riding in a rear-facing convertible seat.

If Your Child’s Car Seat Has Expired

Many parents are unaware that car seats have expiration dates. The owner’s handbook or seat label should indicate when the manufacturer produced the seat and whether or not you should use it. The average lifespan is six years. Expiration dates on car seats guarantee that the seat isn’t too old and worn down to be used and that it meets current safety standards.

If Your Child’s Car Seat Has Been In A Crash

Participating in a trade-in event could be beneficial if you’ve been using a seat that’s been in such an accident and hasn’t been replaced yet.

If Your Child’s Car Seat Is Damaged

The car seat is damaged, and you are wondering when to upgrade car seat for my child. If you see any damage present on the car seat, it likely will not provide enough protection in case of an accident.

It’s best to trade in your old car seat for a new one with undamaged components regardless if it’s the same model type. Newer seats have updated features that provide better safety overall.

When It Is Just The Right Time To Move On

A trade-in event might be the ideal moment to make the transition if your child has outgrown their current vehicle seat stage or is on the verge of doing so. A forward-facing seat is safer than a rear-facing one, and a booster is riskier than a forward-facing harnessed seat (even though they each have their risks).

Safety Considerations

Follow State Laws

In some states, children are required to ride rear-facing in their car seats until two, whereas others allow you to convert your kid forward-facing at a year old.

Children who face the back of the car suffer fewer injuries overall, including head, neck, and leg injuries. To prevent as many accidents as possible, the AAP recommends that parents keep their children rear-facing in their convertible seat until they reach the maximum weight or height for their particular seat, usually between 3 to 5 years old.

Harness Your Child Properly

Because nearly every kid is riding in too loose straps, the emphasis needs to be on ensuring they’re properly tight and not on making them too tight. This harness is a child’s life. You don’t want to take the chance that your child is secured tightly enough. Every time you buckle your kid in, check for a proper fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How much weight can an infant car seat bear?

Ans: The weight limit for an infant car seat is usually between 22 and 35 pounds.

Q2: How long can babies sit in an Infant car seat?

Ans: Most babies can use an infant car seat until they are between one and two years old. Some seats have a maximum weight limit of 35 or 40 pounds.

Q3: When are babies too big for a car seat?

Ans: If your baby is over one year old and can sit up unassisted, it may be too big for an infant car seat.

Q4: When to use a booster car seat?

Ans: Most states require that children use a booster seat until they are at least four years old or 40 pounds.


Car seats are essential for the safety of your child. Be sure to follow state laws and always install the seat correctly. Additionally, upgrade your car seat when your child has outgrown it. Besides this, never forget to buckle your kid in and check the harness for a proper fit. And lastly, don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re ever unsure about anything. Safety is always the number one priority.

My name is Mark Joseph, and I’m on a mission to help new parents navigate the world of parenting. With over 5 years of experience as a parenting coach, I’m here to provide you with insight into all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising your newborn baby. Instagram Linkedln Facebook

Leave a Comment