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The Travel With Children - Rental Car Company's Car Seat Thread [Combined]

The Travel With Children - Rental Car Company's Car Seat Thread [Combined]

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Old Mar 15, 07, 3:22 pm
  #1  
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Car Seat Help from Rental Agency?

Mrs. Spike74 and I aren't the best with car seats. We have the police install them and then don't move them. We are concerned about traveling with our 1-year old and having to not only install our car seat into a car but also into a car we don't have. Would a car rental agency offer any assistance with this or are they too worried about liability to do anything?

Can I guarantee I'm going to receive a certain type of car and then find someone with one in my area and try installing it here so I know what I'm doing when I get to the rental car company at the airport?
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Old Mar 15, 07, 4:47 pm
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My guess is that no one at a car rental agency would help you; it's not only a liability issue, but it's very likely whoever is on duty that day would have no better idea than you on how to install the seat properly -- and would likely know even less.

I'm not sure what the deal would be if you rented the car seat from the rental car agency directly. I've heard bad things about the quality of those seats, not to mention it's awfully expensive, but theoretically they might install them for you since it's their property.

Frankly, my advice would be to just practice, practice, practice with your own seats in your own car. Like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
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Old Mar 15, 07, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by spike74 View Post
Mrs. Spike74 and I aren't the best with car seats. We have the police install them and then don't move them. We are concerned about traveling with our 1-year old and having to not only install our car seat into a car but also into a car we don't have. Would a car rental agency offer any assistance with this or are they too worried about liability to do anything?

Can I guarantee I'm going to receive a certain type of car and then find someone with one in my area and try installing it here so I know what I'm doing when I get to the rental car company at the airport?
Unless you rent their $9.95/day seat I doubt they're going to help. On the plus side since it's doubtful that your 1 year old is over the weight limits and all newer vehicles use the LATCH system - no more having to stretch the seatbelt over and through the seat - it's pretty easy.

All you need to do is find the two little hooks buried between the seat bottom and seat back and then latch the clips from the seat onto them and tighten - put a knee into the child seat to force it down and back so that you can really tighten. Clip the top harness strap into the latch point at the back of the car (most likely on the shelf between the seat and window) and tighten. Baby Spike74 will be snug and safe.

I'm betting you could get the police (or whomever) to walk you through the exact steps (instead of installing it for you) and double-check your work. That way you'd get some practice and the piece of mind of knowing that it was done correctly.
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Old Mar 15, 07, 8:58 pm
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Thanks for the tips but I think we'll want to keep our baby facing the rear which makes the installation more complicated. I believe they recommend keeping kids in rear-facing seats until they are around 25 pounds AND over 1-year. She won't weigh that much then but I need to double-check the weight requirement before going forward-facing.
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Old Mar 15, 07, 9:48 pm
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If you aren't comfortable placing your own car seat in the car, then I would recommend you rent one with the vehicle. We've done this on numerous occassions and haven't experienced any problems at all.

If hygiene is an issue for you then just place a wrap over the sides?

AFAIK the reason for keeping a child rear facing until the age of one is to do with the strength of their necks should there be a crash. Their necks are deemed strong enough to withstand a head on over the age of one.

Good luck with it all.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 12:58 pm
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I would recommend caution in expecting a car seat rental to be installed (and properly at that) in the car when you get it. I have done this twice with Hertz and have a couple of horror stories to prove it. Also the car seats provided with the rentals are bottom-of-the-barrel. Who knows what temperature and handing extremes they have gone through? I now bring my own. Have your local car seat installers show you the ropes. You'll be happy you did.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by spike74 View Post
Thanks for the tips but I think we'll want to keep our baby facing the rear which makes the installation more complicated. I believe they recommend keeping kids in rear-facing seats until they are around 25 pounds AND over 1-year. She won't weigh that much then but I need to double-check the weight requirement before going forward-facing.
Oops, should have recognized the need for rear-facing.

The only thing that really changes with rear-facing is where to find the top strap latch point... it'll be on the floor, under the seat or near the bottom of the back of the front seat - the car owner's manual will tell you where. Unless you're using the seat belt to hold the seat in place now, the LATCH straps on the sides of the seat should already be in position for rear-facing installation.

You really will be better off with a seat of your own, that you've become familiar with, than with a rental. I'd never trust my daughter's safety to the installation work of a porter at a car-rental agency.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 5:00 pm
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Installing the carseat RFing can definitely be a little trickier, but I agree that you've got to get the car seat pros to show you how it's done and then practice, practice, practice until you're comfortable doing it properly yourself. It is really not too bad once you've done it a few times, and if you're comfortable doing it in your own car, you'll be able to figure out how to do it in another car fairly easily.

The first time I traveled with my son was when he was two months old. I'd had the police install the carseat and had never done it myself, so when I got to the destination, I was clueless. Luckily I was with my sister who has three kids, so she's had a little experience in that department.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 10:24 pm
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After multiple bad experiences renting seats (i.e. filthy seats, ripped seats, missing straps, etc.) we decided to travel with our own seats. Over 2 years we rented 9 seats and not one car rental place was able to install the seat for us - they claimed due to untrained personnel and liability as the main reasons. Bring your own seats and learn how to install them yourselves. Why not go to the police and ask them to show you how to do it? A quick check showed that every major rental company offers cars with the LATCH system meaning that once you learn to install a LATCH seat in one car you know how to do it in all LATCH-equipped cars. Good luck!
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Old Mar 16, 07, 10:40 pm
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Originally Posted by spike74 View Post
Can I guarantee I'm going to receive a certain type of car and then find someone with one in my area and try installing it here so I know what I'm doing when I get to the rental car company at the airport?
I rented a car seat at Alamo/National in IAH paying something like $9.95/day. They refused to help over liability issues.

I recommend you to search google on "how to install a car seat"
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Old Mar 17, 07, 2:34 am
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Originally Posted by spike74 View Post
Thanks for the tips but I think we'll want to keep our baby facing the rear which makes the installation more complicated. I believe they recommend keeping kids in rear-facing seats until they are around 25 pounds AND over 1-year. She won't weigh that much then but I need to double-check the weight requirement before going forward-facing.
The reccomendation is 1 year and 20 pounds - here are the guidelines. I don't know of any advantage to keeping a child rear-facing longer than necessary if the child has good head and neck control. Some kids become much more content in the car when turned around, as they can see their parents and have a bit a of a view out the front window that way.

The NHTSA site also has a seat installation expert locator feature on it - maybe having an expert look over the seat at your destination would be worth to you if you'll have the rental car more than a few days.
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Old Mar 17, 07, 2:00 pm
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I defer to those who carry their own car seat because they're concerned about the condition of a rental company's car seat. But for those reading this thread who are not as concerned about that, and suffer the inconvenience of carrying their own car seat(s) through airports to avoid the cost of a rental car seat, you might be interested to know that an AAA membership will get you a free car seat with a Hertz rental. In some situations, this can save a lot of money.
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Old Mar 18, 07, 10:51 pm
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[QUOTE=CDTraveler;7419103]The reccomendation is 1 year and 20 pounds - here are the guidelines. I don't know of any advantage to keeping a child rear-facing longer than necessary if the child has good head and neck control. Some kids become much more content in the car when turned around, as they can see their parents and have a bit a of a view out the front window that way.
QUOTE]
The NHTSA chart lists the bare minimums: that a child must be AT LEAST one year old and AT LEAST 20lbs.

The AAP recommends that children ride rear facing to the limits of their carseats.

There are numerous scientific studies documenting that a child is significantly safer rearfacing Here's one study http://kpho.static.worldnow.com/imag...safetyseat.pdf (Right-click and open in a new window)

It's not about head and neck "control." It's about forces applied to the head and spine during accidents.

OP, a police officer or firefighter who installs your carseat without making you install it too is not properly trained, and has done you a huge disservice. Please learn how to install the carseats you have now.

The easiest carseats (in the US) to install are made by Britax. They are not cheap and they are not light, but they are simple to install correctly every time.

Last edited by zansu; Mar 19, 07 at 4:55 pm Reason: Added directions for link
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Old Mar 18, 07, 11:28 pm
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Originally Posted by zansu View Post
The NHTSA chart lists the bare minimums: that a child must be AT LEAST one year old and AT LEAST 20lbs.

The AAP recommends that children ride rear facing to the limits of their carseats.

There are numerous scientific studies documenting that a child is significantly safer rearfacing Here's one study http://kpho.static.worldnow.com/imag...safetyseat.pdf
I'd like to read your claims for myself, but the link as you posted it doesn't work.
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Old Mar 19, 07, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by Helena Handbaskets View Post
I defer to those who carry their own car seat because they're concerned about the condition of a rental company's car seat. But for those reading this thread who are not as concerned about that, and suffer the inconvenience of carrying their own car seat(s) through airports to avoid the cost of a rental car seat, you might be interested to know that an AAA membership will get you a free car seat with a Hertz rental. In some situations, this can save a lot of money.
I did not know this. How do you specify this on the rental? Do you need to be using the AAA rate code?
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