Is this right...can my child stay rear-facing until tops of ears even w/shell...



I just read this on Britax's website in response to the question "Is there a standing rear height limit on the Roundabout?"
"There is NO "standing height" limit for rear-facing on the Roundabout or Advantage
old-new, LATCH-non-LATCH). The child is too tall rear-facing when the tops of the ears are even with the top of the shell."

I always read that the top of the head had to be one inch below the top of shell and once this is exceeded the child would have to go forward facing.

I have a Britax Roundabout (non-Latch) and the website (not my manual) says that the weight limit rearfacing is now 33lbs. My child is only 27 pounds, but he has a long torso and his head is within an inch from the top and I so want him to stay the Britax quote right and is it safe..if so he could stay rear-facing a long time. TIA
p.s. here is the link to that quote


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
According to Britax, yes.

Britax does have some less conservative height recommendations for the Roundabout and Advantage. You should call them if you have concerns, since the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends that the top of the head should not exceed the top of the shell while rear-facing. Most advocates do recommend an even more conservative 1" margin. This topic is one of interest, and I hope it is addressed at an upcoming conference in March.

The problem to me is that a rear-facing seat may begin at up to a 45 degree recline. In a frontal crash, it tends to rotate downward even more. The child will then tend to ramp out of the seat, especially if the harness straps are not perfectly tight, or not using slots below the shoulders. The risk, of course, is that the top of the child's head will impact something like the vehicle seat in front. That risk would appear to be much greater if you start a few inches past the shell rather than an inch below it. The Britax website is not a misprint. According to their testing, they feel confident the extended height limits are acceptable.

So, you may certainly follow their recommendations if you like. If you do, I would be extra careful to make the harness tight each trip, and to make sure you are using slots at or below the shoulders. Also consider reclining your seat less, perhaps only 10-30 degrees. Less recline is fine for older toddlers, and is a bit safer, too.

I have no information to show that the increased risks of allowing the head to go beyond the shell (if any) would offset the benefits of keeping the child rear-facing longer ( ). Unless I receive more information, I do not think I will have my DD to continue rear-facing once the top of her head is beyond the top of the shell in her Roundabout.

As for weight, 33 pounds is the standard weight of the 3 year dummy used for the crash testing, so that should not be an issue. Since your manual is an older one, you may wish to call them to confirm the rating is valid for your model.

Please note that these extended height and weight limits are only valid for certain Britax models. They should not be used for other models or brands of carseats unless confirmed by the manufacturer.


Thank you for your response...

I can't believe the wealth of information on this site and how quickly you responded. Thank you so much. I am still working on the install of the Britax RA...we have been using a Fisher Price Safe Embrace and the RA is to go in our other car. He is closer to the top of it than in the Safe Embrace, though when I had it angled less he actually is still a little over an inch from the top. I probably will turn my son forward facing when his head is not quite at the top, unless the APA or someone else says otherwise. Thanks again...I am sure I will be posting often.

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