I remember the day we changed my son's car seat to a forward-facing position: It was on his first birthday and he had reached the seat's height and weight limit (we actually got him a new seat and installed it on his birthday). He was so excited to see out the front windshield, and as we drove around, I could see him straining to see more of the road.
But, I'm really glad we waited to make the switch to forward-facing, especially in light of this survey by Chicco that reveals only some parents are actually following the safety guidelines for their car seats.
I'll admit it is confusing - the laws on age limits can change yearly and they vary by state. I really like this application on BabyCenter's website to help parents determine what the laws are in each state (still, you should double-check the information, as I am not sure how often BabyCenter updates their data.)
When did you move your child to a forward-facing seat for the first time?