Bring Your Car Seat From Home
Although car seats can be big and bulky, you may want to bring one with you from home. When our children were infants we would do this on a regular basis. Most domestic airlines do not charge to check a car seat or stroller. Here are 21 airline stroller policies from around the world. (You can definitely make travel easier with car seats and strollers.
Some traveling parents choose to place their children in car seats on the plane. We never did that. Instead, we bought a protective cover for our car seats and checked them in the terminal. An added plus is that we could fit extra diapers or extra clothes in the additional space in the car-seat bag.
Once our kids graduated to booster seats, bringing them from home was easier, although they are still somewhat clumsy to carry as you make your way through the airport to the rental car.
Car Seats To Take On Holiday With You
Whether you bring your normal car seat or buy one for your trip, some airline providers will let you stash your car seat in the hold for free, while others can be folded so theyre small enough to be hand luggage.
Its worth getting a car seat bag to help protect it in transit, but it should be stowed with other oversized luggage, so it hopefully wont get damaged.
The car seats below are compact, foldable or lightweight, so could be a good choice for your holiday but make sure to read our reviews to check how well they fared in our tough crash tests.
Renting A Car Seat Is Still Cheaper Than Buying One
Its a common misconception that renting is the cheaper option. When you factor in all the hidden costs, it can be more expensive than buying one outright.
Renting a car seat can be expensive, but there are some options. You could buy one for less than $100 and then use it again on your next trip!
You may have to pay more upfront if you buy a travel-worthy model instead of renting an airport concession fee that might cost as much as 30%. But in the long run, this is cheaper per day: plus theyre so lightweight and easy to pack away when not practiced. Check out these cute ones available at Amazon with free shipping today click here!
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What Types Of Car Seats Do You Offer Are They Guaranteed
National offers child restraint systems that conform to government standards at an additional per day charge.
- Child seats vary by country so please review the International Travel list of exceptions.
- Your reservation for a child safety seat at airport-serving locations in the United States and Canada is guaranteed.
- Child booster seats are featured in some non airport locations but in limited quantities so they cannot be guaranteed with a reservation. If you prefer this type of seat, please ask about availability at the counter when you arrive
- Remember, you can inquire with your airline about bringing your personal child booster seat orchild safety seat from home.
It is the renter’s responsibility to properly install and fasten a child safety or child booster seat.
Child Safety Seats: National offers 5-point convertible seats that can be rear-facing or reclining for infants up to 30 pounds or forward-facing for toddlers 20 – 40 pounds.
- 5-point harness with two-piece harness retainer and front harness lock.
- Large labeled seatbelt paths with locking clips.
Child Safety Seats From Rental Car Companies
Depending on the booking channel, a car seat may be able to be requested at the time of booking, though requests arent guaranteed, and the fee to rent the car seat will not be included in the quote provided by the rental car company. To maximize the chance of having a car seat available for your trip, we recommend calling the rental car company directly after you book to have it added to your reservation.
Forget to book a car seat in advance? Dont sweat it. Rental car companies tend to have a ton of child safety seats on hand because, like most services offered by commission-based agents at the rental car counter, they are highly profitable.
Note that due to the potential liability of incorrectly installed car seats, most rental car companies forbid staff from helping to install child safety seats. Really. Instead, they are likely to place the car seat loose inside the car or even on top of the car and give parents installation instructions. The bottom line: If youre putting a car seat in a rental car, you must be prepared to install it yourself.
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What Are The Requirements For Child Seats In Rental Cars
Planning on renting a car during your family holiday with the kids? You may need to use a child seat, depending on the age of your child and which country you visit.
Using a car rental with child seats protects any children under a certain age. But rules for renting versus bringing your own depend on the company and country. Before you make a reservation, make sure to read through these rules for a rental car with car seats, to keep everyone safe while traveling .
Only Offered A Backless Booster Seat
Our tough crash tests have proved time and again that using a backless booster seat doesnt provide adequate protection in a side-on impact, compared with a high-back booster seat.
However, 18% of parents state that was the type of seat offered when hiring a car.
Wed always recommend opting for a high-back booster seat, and wed encourage you to request this when booking and again on vehicle collection if it hasnt been provided.
More than 50% of parents we surveyed chose not to use the hired car seat if it was provided with a backless booster seat.
However, a backless booster is better than no seat at all, so if there really is no other option, then use the backless booster seat.
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Renting A Car Seat Heres What You Need To Know
Most parents dont want to lug a car seat on the plane, but are even more reluctant to rent one from a car rental agency. Should they be?
Dont get my motherwe call her La Gstarted on car seats. She rues the day we had to constrict our children to those contraptions. Of course, car seats save lives, a lot of lives: Theyve helped bring down motor vehicle-related deaths in children 53% since 1975. But day-to-day, I agree with La G: Why are five-point harness seatbelts so difficult to clasp, the seats themselves so heavy? A run to the grocery store needs additional time and planning, let alone a road trip through California.
Rental cars make child seat questions even more complicated. Parents have asked me, can you rent car seats, and if you reserve one, are they guaranteed? How do you know if a car seat has been in an accident, and what happens if its recalled? How much do they cost, and how are they cleaned?
To answer these common questions, I reached out to six popular rental car agencies: Enterprise, Alamo, National, Thrifty, Hertz, and Dollar. Heres what I discovered.
Do all car rental locations offer car seats?Not necessarily. In the case of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car, for example, child seats are offered at all major airports as well as at locations where they are required throughout California and Florida.
Are car seats reserved online guaranteed upon arrival?Yes, in the USA. And be sure to reserve them in advance.
Child Seat Requirements In Us & Eu
When hopping from country to country, keep in mind that local laws vary. Safety standards for car rental child seats in the United States wont necessarily match countries throughout Europe. Heres what you need to know:
EU Car Seat Laws
- All children must travel in a child seat, booster seat, or booster cushion.
- Children between ages 3 and 12 must use an appropriate child restraint in the car if they are fitted with safety belts.
- If there are active airbags in the passenger seats, rear-facing child restraints must not be used. However, for all other options, the air-bags must always be active.
- Any child under 150cms or weighing less than 36kg must be restrained in a child restraint, appropriate for their height and weight.
- If possible, the safest place to position a child is in the back seat of the car with the appropriate child restraint. Children who sit in the front seat require the appropriate restraint for their height and weight.
US Car Seat Laws
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Do Car Rental Companies Rent Car Seats Only When They Have Them
Can you rent a car seat at the airport? Sure, in theory. But weve had numerous parents in our Facebook group report that the car seat they had requested on the reservation and called to multiple times to confirm wasnt there at all. Oops, sorry! Just rented the last one.
As in the situation above, you can usually figure something out if you have another adult with you. If youre in a major city you could also try to order online for in-store pickup and send someone from TaskRabbit to pick it up for you.
But as one group member agreed, it sure was a shitty way to start off their vacation!
Can you rent a car with a car seat at a tiny airport in Panama or Patagonia? I certainly didnt see any where we were, nor was there any back room where they would have been stored.
Baby Gear Rental Is More Convenient Than Lugging Your Own Stuff Through Airports And Planes
When youre already overwhelmed by how much gear you need to take, baby equipment rental can seem like the simplest option. After all, you have suitcases, diaper bags, kids entertainment, and maybe throw in some coats and a temper tantrum to top it all off?
The good news is that there are some wonderful companies that rent baby items. You can get everything from cribs to high chair to bath toys and yes, you can even rent car seats from them.
If I was committed to renting a car seat rather than bringing my own, Id try to rent from a company like BabyQuip. Its a network of parents who rent clean, well cared for baby gear. The company requires them to provide age-appropriate car seats and to make sure theyre in tip-top condition. Supposedly they follow manufacturer directions for cleaning. You can often arrange for the local provider to meet you at the airport with the car seat . Check out the full BabyQuip location list.
Of course you can rent a car seat from the rental car company, but as youll read below there can be some major pitfalls.
Note that you dont really need to ever consider booster seat rental. There are so many great travel booster seat options thatll shove into your childs carry-on.
Read more: Important info for traveling with car seats
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What Type Of Child Seat Will I Need
The type of child seat required will depend on the age, height, and weight of your child.
- Under 6 months: Rear-facing child seat with an inbuilt harness. Capsules are not available to hire from car rental companies, only rear-facing seats.
- 6 months to 4 years: Rear-facing child seat or forward-facing child seat with an inbuilt harness.
- 4 years to 7 years: Forward-facing child seat with an inbuilt harness or a booster seat with a harness.
- Over 7 years: Booster seat with a harness. If your child is taller than 145cm, theyll be able to use the standard seat and adult seatbelt.
Depending on the height and weight of your child, there may be exceptions. Visit for more information.
Do Car Rental Companies Provide Car Seats
Many parents have faced the dilemma of needing a car seat on arrival and not being able to find one. The problem is that many airlines will rent them out if you call ahead, but they are often sold out by the time your plane arrives, as in this situation: Oops! Rented the last one.
, these companies would reserve more seats for their customers, so theres no risk involved when booking flights with children onboard yet, it doesnt seem like anything has changed since weve reached out about this issue many times before.
So until then, Id recommend having someone meet you at baggage claim or bringing an extra from home in case something goes wrong!
Types of seats available for rental car companies
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What Car Seat Should A 6 Year Old Be In
The NHTSA recommends that 6-year-old be in either a forward-facing car seat or booster seats. This all depends on how mature your little one is for their age. Most of them are ready to ride in a backless booster car seat, but if this is not the case, you should secure them in a 5 point harness seat instead.
The Pros & Cons Of Renting A Car Seat For Rental Cars
Every time my wife and I make plans for a trip that involves air travel and a rental car at our destination , we ask ourselves the same question: Do we rent car seats or bring our own?
Inevitably, we opt to bring. Three major issues factor into that decision: safety, cost and convenience. Heres how our thinking shakes out on each.
Almost all car rental companies guarantee the safety of the seats they offer. But from our perspective, why should we believe them? Carfax doesnt offer reports for car seats, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using previously owned car seats because theres no way to know if the seat has been in a serious accident. We tend to err on the side of caution, and go for the solution where safety is never a question: Our own.
Unless youre a member of AAA, which entitles you to the free use of one car seat with every rental through Hertz, renting a car seat is bound to cost you something. Most major companies charge between $10 and $15 per seat per day, and cap those fees at a maximum of $60 to $70 per seat per rental. For us, this would mean a vacation-length surcharge of at least $120 . Thats no chump change for us 99-percenters. We opt to save the cash.
Personally, I grapple with a fourth issue on the car seat question a minor point, but an irksome one nevertheless. Lets call it Ickiness.
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Book With Silvercar For A No
Mommy Points thinks that Silvercar is the best car rental company for families. Part of the reason is that it offers free high-quality Peg Perego car seats at all of its locations. In fact, the company offers two different Peg Perego car seats. The Primo Viaggio Convertible can be used rear-facing for children 5 to 45 pounds and forward-facing for children 22 to 65 pounds, up to the maximum height limits. The Viaggio Flex 120 can be used for children from 40 to 120 pounds and up to 63 in height. After making your rental reservation, email Silvercar at [email protected] to let them know youll need a car seat when you arrive.
Car Hire: Why Is Renting A Child Seat Such An Ordeal
Taking your own often isnt practical but hiring is costly and can even be dangerous
Setting off on holiday as a family is exciting, even if navigating trains, planes and automobiles with small and potentially grumpy children is exhausting. But as my wife Francesca and our son Sacha have learned, hiring a car can transform a mild logistical challenge into an appallingly stressful ordeal.
Since Sacha was born, we have twice rented a car for a week from Avis, paying about £70 for the use of a baby seat. Despite the exorbitant price you can get a new seat for less than £100 we decided not to bring our own from home on a recent holiday to Brittany.
At the car rental office, we were simply handed the seat and offered no help or advice on how to fit it.
Initially, we were pleased to be given a seat with Isofix bars, which are usually safe and easy to fit. In the hot, fume-filled underground car park, that optimism melted away.
Avis had not provided the plastic guides that help slide the seat into place. Some 20 minutes later, after a good deal of spousal bickering, soundtracked by a crying infant, we had made no progress.
A staff member suggested fitting the seat facing forwards, something not recommended for a child of Sachas age. Eventually, she trooped back to the office, promising to return with advice, but never did.
It was then I spotted that the metal connection point on the Isofix bars was badly twisted out of shape and completely unsafe.
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Flying Family Dilemma: Lug The Car Seat Or Pay Up At Rental Counter
Traveling parents are in a bind: They don’t want to lug a heavy car seat from home through the airport or risk it getting damaged in the cargo hold, so they opt for renting but car rental agencies charge between $8 and $13 per car seat, per day. After a few days of renting, you can spend as much as a brand new seat costs although picking one up safely with kids in tow upon landing would be a challenge.
So, parents open their wallets.
Worse yet, there’s no guarantee that a rented car seat will be in safe condition. Or clean. Or come with an instruction manual on how to install it. Or even be there.
Rental car companies Avis and Hertz told NBC News they provide car seats to its customers as a convenience.
“The daily rental fee pays for a national inventory across all our locations of many more seats than are necessary to meet the demand,” said Hertz spokeswoman Paula Rivera.
Laura Bryant, spokeswoman for Enterprise, which also owns Alamo and National, forwarded a copy of Enterprise’s FAQ on child safety seat rental, which says the car rental company “takes child safety and protection very seriously,” and that each seat comes attached with an installation manual for customers to use.
But some parents arrive at the car rental agency and find demand has exceeded the supply of safe, available seats.