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Trip to DC - Do I need to bring a carseat?

Trip to DC - Do I need to bring a carseat?

Old Aug 13, 15, 11:40 am
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Trip to DC - Do I need to bring a carseat?

Our family will be visiting DC September 17-21 with our 1.5 year old. We'll likely be staying at the Embassy Suites or Residence Inn in Crystal City. One of the reasons we're deciding to stay in Arlington/Crystal City is because of its proximity to the metro station, that way we won't have to bother bringing a car seat on the trip.

I was just thinking about the hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel and wondering if I would need to bring a car seat for the 5 minute ride to the hotel? It seems like laws on this change from city to city so I'm not sure if one would be legally required or not. This would literally be the only time during the entire trip that we would need it so I'm hesitant to lug a 20 lb carseat 2000 miles for a 5 minute ride unless its absolutely necessary.

Are there any other options that I haven't considered? I've heard that there's Uber Family in DC, but it doesn't say whether or not the car seats are rear-facing or not. Does anybody have experience using them in DC?

Any additional ideas or insights are appreciated.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 1:42 pm
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Why not take the Metro from DCA (I assume you're planning on DCA instead of IAD since you say 5 minute ride) to the hotel you (and in reverse) choose instead of the hotel shuttle? Then, there would be no car involved.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 2:59 pm
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Originally Posted by FindAWay View Post
Why not take the Metro from DCA (I assume you're planning on DCA instead of IAD since you say 5 minute ride) to the hotel you (and in reverse) choose instead of the hotel shuttle? Then, there would be no car involved.
This exactly! The Metro comes right in to DCA (same line as Crystal City). That would be easiest (& probably just as quick). If you don't want to do that, check with the hotel to see what kind of shuttle they have (many have mini buses).
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Old Aug 13, 15, 3:39 pm
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I'd considered the metro, but since our flight gets into DCA at 10:30pm I didn't want to have to walk the 3-4 blocks from the station to the hotel in the dark, especially since I don't know the area. That would work well getting back to the airport though.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 11:22 pm
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No you dont need car seats for shuttle ride. As a matter of fact most places dont require car seats for taxi rides.
Just use common sense.
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Old Aug 14, 15, 8:39 am
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If you want a vehicle with a car seat, try to arrange a car service in advance. Some will provide a car seat. It may be front facing like you mentioned but it would be safer than no car seat (& DCA to Crystal City is a 5 minute ride on local roads).

I wouldn't do it at that time of the night or with a child, but I've walked to Crystal City from DCA before--it really is that close.
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Old Aug 14, 15, 10:29 am
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With a 10:30pm arrival , even during the week, you *should* have time to catch the train:
http://www.wmata.com/rail/station_de...?station_id=93

If IRROPS, of course fall back would be shuttle.
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Old Aug 14, 15, 11:01 am
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Thanks for all the responses. Good to know we'll be able to just use the shuttle and subway to get around with bothering with a bulky car-seat. I appreciate all the pragmatic ideas.

Wife posted this same question on on of those mommy forums and nearly every response was some variation "OMG! How could you even consider transporting your child without a carseat! Do you know how many children die every year on roads! You're such a selfish parent for even considering this!" Flyertalk wins again

Last edited by Big4Flyer; Aug 14, 15 at 11:02 am Reason: misspelling
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Old Aug 14, 15, 11:15 am
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Neither VA nor DC require car seats in most shuttles. Those that do will have the car seats. You may call the property to confirm, but I would not bother. If you are staying in Crystal City, take advantage of the hotel shuttle. Even though the Metro stops at DCA and CC, it's a walk (or moving walkway) which is the last thing you need with a kid late at night.

The shuttles pick up just outside baggage claim and pull into the property directly. No need to inconvenience yourself.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by Big4Flyer View Post
I'd considered the metro, but since our flight gets into DCA at 10:30pm I didn't want to have to walk the 3-4 blocks from the station to the hotel in the dark, especially since I don't know the area. That would work well getting back to the airport though.
I would probably just go with the shuttle too.

But if for some reason you need to use the Metro, IIRC you don't have to go outside at all to get to the Embassy Suites. I believe they are connected to the metro stop by underground walkway - just follow the signs.
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Old Aug 17, 15, 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by bevoinva View Post
But if for some reason you need to use the Metro, IIRC you don't have to go outside at all to get to the Embassy Suites. I believe they are connected to the metro stop by underground walkway - just follow the signs.
This is correct. There is a subterranean shopping plaza accessible from Crystal City Metro before you hit the main escalator to street level. You can reach the Embassy Suites via that corridor complex without having to go topside. Handy if it's raining.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Big4Flyer View Post
Thanks for all the responses. Good to know we'll be able to just use the shuttle and subway to get around with bothering with a bulky car-seat. I appreciate all the pragmatic ideas.

Wife posted this same question on on of those mommy forums and nearly every response was some variation "OMG! How could you even consider transporting your child without a carseat! Do you know how many children die every year on roads! You're such a selfish parent for even considering this!" Flyertalk wins again
Oh, those mommy forums are a whole different universe! She must have been on one of the more level ones if that is as bad as it got. I drove myself crazy until I wised up and stopped visiting them for advice.
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Old Aug 24, 15, 10:49 am
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Mommy forums often come up prominently on google results for various travel-with-kids related questions... there is a lot of useful info there, but man... you would think there was a generous prize given to whoever could whip up the most sanctimony in a single post. Yeesh.
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Old Aug 27, 15, 1:55 am
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Originally Posted by Big4Flyer View Post
Wife posted this same question on on of those mommy forums and nearly every response was some variation "OMG! How could you even consider transporting your child without a carseat! Do you know how many children die every year on roads! You're such a selfish parent for even considering this!" Flyertalk wins again
Yes, people get pretty hysterical about this. Some forums even won't allow any discussion of alternatives.

What's interesting is that I did a little investigating and asked some car seat techs what the deal is. The truth is that the bigger the vehicle, the less likely it is to be in an accident. Also, even if it is in an accident, the damage is usually less severe. I even saw this once, a full sized bus that ran into a car. She looked very injured while everyone on the bus was fine.

Buses usually travel a little slower too and are more visible. Even in horrific bus accidents, often the passengers only in a certain section were injured or killed, while many walked away.

Trains are an even better deal, since they have dedicated tracks. Accidents usually involve coming off those tracks but that is rare.

So it could be argued that your child is safer, unrestrained in a big bus or train that statistically, in a car seat in a personal car.

I asked about an incident where my daughter was supposed to take a bus without seat belts and I opted to take her myself in my car in her car seat. A car seat tech actually said that statistically, she would have been safer on the bus!

She went on to explain that there is even question whether lap belts on a bus serve any purpose. They do but for breaking-jerking incidents but wouldn't make a difference in a more serious accident. Lap/shoulder is obviously better.

Then there's the whole separate issue of whether to take the car seat. If you have a lap baby, you risk damage and loss and if you only need it for a 5 minute bus ride...

So there's some factors to weigh up when planning a trip with a child in tow. For now, there is no real car seat alternative that is portable for smaller, rear-facing children. There's the Ride Safer Travel Vest for 3 and up, which we're waiting on air travel certification (when??)

Generally legally, you're covered. What is legal, isn't necessarily safe. Children up to age 7 can travel on laps in New York.

Sometimes there are foreign products sold on the net which are illegal and unsafe.
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Old Aug 31, 15, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
Yes, people get pretty hysterical about this. Some forums even won't allow any discussion of alternatives.

What's interesting is that I did a little investigating and asked some car seat techs what the deal is. The truth is that the bigger the vehicle, the less likely it is to be in an accident. Also, even if it is in an accident, the damage is usually less severe. I even saw this once, a full sized bus that ran into a car. She looked very injured while everyone on the bus was fine.

Buses usually travel a little slower too and are more visible. Even in horrific bus accidents, often the passengers only in a certain section were injured or killed, while many walked away.

Trains are an even better deal, since they have dedicated tracks. Accidents usually involve coming off those tracks but that is rare.

So it could be argued that your child is safer, unrestrained in a big bus or train that statistically, in a car seat in a personal car.

I asked about an incident where my daughter was supposed to take a bus without seat belts and I opted to take her myself in my car in her car seat. A car seat tech actually said that statistically, she would have been safer on the bus!

She went on to explain that there is even question whether lap belts on a bus serve any purpose. They do but for breaking-jerking incidents but wouldn't make a difference in a more serious accident. Lap/shoulder is obviously better.

Then there's the whole separate issue of whether to take the car seat. If you have a lap baby, you risk damage and loss and if you only need it for a 5 minute bus ride...

So there's some factors to weigh up when planning a trip with a child in tow. For now, there is no real car seat alternative that is portable for smaller, rear-facing children. There's the Ride Safer Travel Vest for 3 and up, which we're waiting on air travel certification (when??)

Generally legally, you're covered. What is legal, isn't necessarily safe. Children up to age 7 can travel on laps in New York.

Sometimes there are foreign products sold on the net which are illegal and unsafe.
I'd like to see those "statistics".

It's a bit too naive, maybe even downright stupid to think a bus with no form of protection is "statistically" safer than a car with a car seat installed without actually taking in to account the basis for the said statistic. (number of trips, duration, severity of impact etc.)

Getting a car seat tech certificate is a matter of a few days of studying and a couple of exams. It doesn't require math or science degree so I wouldn't put much thought in to what a car seat tech thinks about "statistics". They're likely just repeating something they read somewhere without actually understanding what they are talking about.
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