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In an article posted on Healthychildren.org, the topic of forward-facing car safety seats is discussed. They recommend that all children ages 2 years and older ride in forward-facing car safety seats, as well as those children under the age of 2 that have outgrown the height/weight requirements for their rear-facing car seats. The seat should be equiped with a harness, and the children should use these car seats for as long as possible, or at least until they meet the limits for the height/weight requirements.
There are 5 different types of car safety seats that can be used as forward-facing car restraints:
These seats can convert to forward-facing from rear-facing car safety seats. Also included in this category are 3-in-1 seats.
Manufacturers are no longer producing forward-only-facing car safety seats, but there may still be some remaining from previous years. These seats should have a harness and are designed for children weighing up to 40-80 pounds.
Combination Seat with Harness
With a harness, car safety seats can be used as forward-facing for children weighing up to 40-90 pounds (depending on the model). Also depending on the model, car seats without a harness can be used as a booster seat for children weighing up to 80-120 pounds.
There are some vehicles that now come equiped with a built in forward-facing car safety seat. Be sure to read your vehicle owner's manual or contact the manufacturer for further details.
When a vehicle has lap-only seat belts, or if the child weighs more than what is allowed by car safety seats, travel vests can be useful. They can be worn by children weighing between 20 and 168 pounds and can be used as an option to the traditional forward-facing car seats. They may require the use of a top tether.