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  1. #1
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    Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    Hi,

    I've just discovered this site and was hoping someone could help. I've read the past posts on similar topics and am considering NOT bringing a car seat or booster for my son when we go to Playa del Carmen on Feb. 7th. Of course, I'm racked with guilt for even considering this.

    First, some facts -- I am single so will be traveling with my son by myself. My son is about 40 inches tall and weighs, probably, 33 pounds soaking weight (he's thin). At home, he's in the Britax Marathon.

    Now my reasoning for possibly not bringing a car seat or booster for him:

    1. Although my son weighs less than 40 pounds, he will likely stay put in the airplane seat just fine.

    2. We are planning to take public transportation (buses, combis) wherever possible and occasional, relatively short cab rides.

    3. I'd be happy to take a seat or something for him for the cab rides, but from what I hear, cabs likely do not have seat belts! (Great.) So, I'm concerned about lugging something all the way to Mexico and not being able to use it! Although I'm also hearing that Mexico now has a seat belt law so I'm not sure exactly how that works -- that the cabs don't have seat belts, but that the law requires that such belts be used.

    4. Expense is an issue in that having already shelled out mega bucks for the Marathon, I don't exactly want to shell out more mega bucks for another convertible seat or booster to take with us to Mexico. I'd be looking for something lightweight that is not too expensive.

    5. I don't want to take the Marathon with me, if possible, because it's heavy. Also, I'm not exactly sure that it'd fit in an airplane seat (it's got a kinda wide base). Also, it's installed really tightly and I don't want to uninstall it.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    1. At four, it's discretionary. The FAA advises that all children under 40 lbs be in a harness. The CARES harness is a possibility for you., or you could choose to do nothing at all.

    2. You cannot use a seat, of course, on a bus, but they should be used, if possible, in a taxi cab.

    3. I'd call the hotel you're staying at, or the agency you booked the trip through if you used one, to ask if local cabs have seatbelts. If they are equipped with lap-shoulder belts, you could consider a Ride Safer Travel Vest, which is quite lightweight, and...a vest, no plastic shell component. Alternatively a cheap, lightweight option might be the Evenflo Maestro (80 dollars). It harnesses to 50 lbs and isn't pricey.

    4. The marathon does in fact fit just fine in airline seats

  4. #3
    Moderator MomToEliEm's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    I was thinking the Ride Safer Travel Vest (http://www.safetrafficsystem.com/) would be a good choice for you, but I see it's small version requires a child to be at least 35 pounds.

    I can certainly see your reasons for not bringing a seat, but it is a tough choice though since it really isn't very safe. Hopefully someone else can provide you with some options for your trip.
    Katy

  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    The new version of the RSTV goes to 30 pounds.

    A booster is not an option at his size and weight.

    The Marathon fits beautifully, you'd just have to put the armrest up. And get a belt extender since it installs hideously forward facing.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about him bouncing around on the plane, I'd be concerned about him bouncing out of the seatbelt. At 43 pounds there are still some planes where the belt won't tighten all the way on my seven year old. That puts her at increased chance of ejection or submarining. I feel ok with her riding on the plane since it's just barely not tight enough, but we flew with a seat with her until a year ago. Even to China, where they have seatbelts in the taxis, but no buckles (we avoided taxis, and when we took one to the airport I installed her in the front seat where there was a seatbelt and I sat in the back. She still talks about the time she got to ride in the front, three years later).

    I agree about the RSTV. And I'd avoid taxis as much as possible if they don't have belts.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  6. #5
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    The old-style Small has a 35 lb. minimum. The new style Small, while more expensive, has a 30 lb. (and 3 years) minimum. I'd use it when I could-- meaning when there are shoulder belts (or a lap belt and an empty lap belt in the row behind that can be used as a tether anchor.) Be prepared for some of the cabs to have no belts whatsoever.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  7. #6
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    Thank you all for your comments!

    I've e-mailed the hotel to ask about the cab situation. My understanding about the RSTV is that it requires a shoulder belt to work and/or needs to be tethered. Is that correct?

    Thanks again,

    Anne

  8. #7
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    Right. Lap and shoulder or lap and top tether.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  9. #8
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    Okay, I've narrowed my choices down to the following:

    1. Taking the Britax Marathon with me, buying a luggage cart so that I can turn it into a "stroller," using it on the plane and in cabs. This is the least expensive option

    2. Buying the RSTV, which I can't use on the plane and can only use in cabs that have shoulder belts (some do, some don't, from what I hear).

    I'm leaning toward the Marathon choice b/c it gives my son protection on the plane and can be used in any cab, even if the cab lacks shoulder belts. The downsides: (1) probably won't be able to combine public transportation and cab rides in one trip -- can't exactly lug Marathon onto bus, etc.; and (2) have to figure out what to do with the Marathon once the cab drops us off at our destination.

    The pros of using the RSTV -- extremely lightweight and easy to transport. The cons -- no protection for my kiddo on the plane; have to make sure that whatever cab we use has shoulder belts (not sure how many do).

    Recommendations?

    Thoughts?

    Advice?

    Thanks,

    Anne

  10. #9
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    After all the sturm & drang, decided to buy the Evenflo Maestro for our trip. Didn't want to have to hassle with re-installing the Marathon upon our return!

    Anyway, thanks for the input, etc.

    -- Anne

  11. #10
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    Re: Traveling to Mexico with Four Year Old

    Glad you were able to find something that worked

    I think the Maestro will be good for you...not too expensive, works on the plane and in both lap and lap-shoulder seatbelts, and isn't terribly heavy.

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