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car rentals with baby car seats

Bill4728

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We will be vacationing next month with our 4 month old grand daughter

WE will be renting from Hertz

How do we deal with a car seat?
 

DeniseM

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I highly recommend that you take your own car seat - car rental car sears are notoriously unreliable. They may not have an appropriate car seat available, it may be dirty, or missing parts, or the wrong size.

If they are flying with the baby as a lap baby, they can check their own car seat for free.
 

VegasBella

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Bring your own car seat. This issue has been discussed on TUG before so you might want to search other threads. The reasons to bring your own:

- baby knows that seat, it's familiar and comfortable
- you know that seat and how to install it
- car rental agencies can't be counted on to always have the proper seat in stock
- you never know what might have happened to a loaner seat when others used it
- if you bring your own carseat and it's FAA approved and you booked a seat for your child, you can use it on the flight and that will make the flight safer for your child
- if you bring your own carseat and it's FAA approved, even if you haven't booked a seat you're more likely to get a free extra seat for your child than if you hadn't brought the carseat
- no additional costs

Read these links for more info:
http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/

http://thecarseatlady.com/before-you-fly-know-your-rights/

http://carseatblog.com/18895/flying-with-kids-carseats-the-checked-carseat-controversy/

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/12/the-reality-of-child-seats-and-rental-cars/index.htm
 
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VegasBella

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Just to clarify, the last link on my list is from Consumer Reports and it says:

At one agency, the child seats were neatly stored in clear plastic bags and each seat had its owner’s manual zip-tied to the cover. This was encouraging to see, as the instructions are critical to ensure the seat is properly installed.

In contrast to the neatly stored child seats at the first agency, the child seats at a second rental company were kept outside in the parking lot, in a shed. They were not in plastic bags, and most of them were missing their owner’s manuals. Many of the seats were not suitable for use due to broken parts, missing labels, infant seat carriers separated from their bases, or they were expired [...]

The employees of the rental agency, though well-intentioned, are not likely to have been trained in child passenger safety and may not be able to offer much guidance. When you combine that with the price and the potential for unpredictable quality of seats at a rental agencies, it leads us to recommend bringing your child’s car seat when travel plans include a rental car.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/12/the-reality-of-child-seats-and-rental-cars/index.htm
 

am1

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I highly recommend that you take your own car seat - car rental car sears are notoriously unreliable. They may not have an appropriate car seat available, it may be dirty, or missing parts, or the wrong size.

If they are flying with the baby as a lap baby, they can check their own car seat for free.

I agree. We have travelled 4 times with car seats with out twins. It is a hassle but not only what denise says but the cost can add up. Almost cheaper to buy one at your destination. Just need it shipped to the airport or more likely airport hotel.
 

dlca1

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I've never rented one but have seen some of the rental car seats and some look pretty dirty.

If you have a baby car seat/carrier that fits on the stroller, you can luggage check the car base with your baggage. You can then gate check the stroller. Depending on if you take the baby carrier on the plane or not, you can also gate check the baby carrier/car seat

When your baby gets bigger, we've found having an inexpensive dedicated travel car seat really helpful if you fly several times a year. I bought an inexpensive light graco from target that was recommended on some parenting forum. Save you from having to deal with unstalling/re-installing car seats at the airport. Is much lighter and you don't have to worry about a nicer car seat getting beat up.
 

Luanne

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The first time we traveled and needed a car seat we used the one from the car rental company. After that we always brought our own. We would use them on the airplane and our kids were usually happier sitting in those since it raised them up.
 

Bill4728

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Thanks

we are now bringing our own.
 

mdurette

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Two other reasons why we always brought our own.

1. Germs. How many sick kids or too dirty diapers have been in one of those rentals.

2. At 4 months old, the baby is most likely in one of those bucket seats. Many of them clip right onto the strollers. Assuming the stroller is coming along with you....this is a big plus to simply but the bucket in.
 

Jason245

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Option two is to buy a car seat at your destination. Generally less Hassel and depending on preferences, you can donate or toss at end of trip. An inexpensive one will probably still save you money compared to rental at some high rate.

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VegasBella

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Password is taco

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There is really no good option when it comes to traveling with children and how to deal with car seats. Taking your own is easier said than done. When you're carrying bags and stuff that you need to take on the plane with you and the kids through the airport, you really don't have the capacity to also carry a couple car seats. As someone else mentioned, you can check the car seat at the gate, but do you really want the baggage guys throwing your car seat around? We did that one time and when we got back we noticed the car seat had a huge dent in it. We were fortunate the car seat manufacturer was willing to replace it for free. Buying a car seat at your destination is also tricky because you'd have to leave your family at the car rental place, drive to a store to buy car seats and then drive back. That's not very appealing after a long day of travel. We most recently traveled with the kids a couple weeks ago to California and rented car seats from the car rental company. Certainly not ideal, but did the trick. If I felt the seats were not up to par, I would have gone and bought my own, but luckily I didn't need to do that. We used Alamo and they had a good supply of seats and let me hand pick the two that I wanted.

Our plan for future travel is to fly as infrequently as possible and mostly take road trips using the Honda Odyssey we just bought. We can make it to Florida or South Carolina in a day and a half. That will be our destinations until the kids are older and easier to fly with. Of course there are times that flying will be unavoidable and we'll be stuck trying to figure out what to do out of three bad options.
 

VegasBella

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I think it's a pain to travel with a car seat, especially if you're a single parent (or traveling as one) and you have multiple children.

I have flown about 6 times with my son, and all but this last one were trips where it was just him and I. Until very recently he was always in one of the, if not the, heaviest car seats available. It has a strap you can use to carry it but I broke that part on the first trip. He's still using that one now in fact it's just that he's finally big enough and safe enough to use a regular booster without a back. Anyway, I lugged that carseat through many airports. We would just stop and take a break when I needed one. It's a good thing I work out :)

Plenty of people use a car seat dolly (or simply a modified dolly or your luggage) to transport their car seats. If it's rigged up properly it can double as a make-shift stroller. Or, of course, if you're bringing the stroller and you use a "bucket" car seat that clicks into the stroller, then that's always an option too.

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SMHarman

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Airport sky caps can help schlepping the car seats and kids and luggage. Well worth the $$

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