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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    I am renting a car at our vacation destination next week and was wondering if anybody has used the car seats provided by a rental car company (Hertz in my case but also would like to hear of other companies if we would change), and how did that go? What kind of seats did they provide, do they install or do I have to install, were they age appropriate as you requested, etc. And would you do it again?
    "Retired" 911 Operator & EMT now Mom to 2 and second Mom to 4.5

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member SuzaBanana's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    You're not going to find anyone on this site who will recommend renting a seat from the car rental company. Unfortunately, while car rental companies keep up with newer model cars, they seem to barely think about car seats. The experiences vary from the company having 2 seats to choose from - neither of which may be appropriate for your child, to having a pile of filthy, expired & damaged seats to "choose" from.

    I myself have seen a rental infant seat that smelled of vomit, had the straps cut & tied in a way that it made it a 3-point harness & impossible to adjust AND had blackened & melted plastic shell - as though it had caught on fire

    This was an interesting article - http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal...s-infant-risk/

    Additionally, you don't know how they treat the seats. If they are clean, do they wash the harness rendering it useless? Do they replace their seats if there is a crash? How do the various renters treat the seats?

    Too many variables for *me* to feel comfortable, so I just bring my own seat.
    integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching


  4. #3
    Senior Community Member veggiegirl228's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzaBanana View Post
    You're not going to find anyone on this site who will recommend renting a seat from the car rental company. Unfortunately, while car rental companies keep up with newer model cars, they seem to barely think about car seats. The experiences vary from the company having 2 seats to choose from - neither of which may be appropriate for your child, to having a pile of filthy, expired & damaged seats to "choose" from.

    I myself have seen a rental infant seat that smelled of vomit, had the straps cut & tied in a way that it made it a 3-point harness & impossible to adjust AND had blackened & melted plastic shell - as though it had caught on fire

    This was an interesting article - http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal...s-infant-risk/

    Additionally, you don't know how they treat the seats. If they are clean, do they wash the harness rendering it useless? Do they replace their seats if there is a crash? How do the various renters treat the seats?

    Too many variables for *me* to feel comfortable, so I just bring my own seat.


    I just can't bring myself to spend money on something I don't know if it's truly safe for my kid to be in.

    When we traveled a couple of years ago the seats they had available would by no means fit DD. It provided me a peace of mind knowing that she was safe in her seat.

    Will you not have a carseat on the plane to use for your LO?
    Jennifer, SAHM to DD, 9.9 yrs old, 4'7", 73 lbs. Current ride is Safety 1st Incognito

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    The logistics of having to single handedly deal with two kids, a double stroller that doesn't accomodate an infant car seat, 4 carry-ons, a lapbaby, and a 3 y/o who is still working on "listening" skills and following my instructions...plus the 2 checked bags= wanting car seats when I can get them provided upon arrival without charge (AAA benefit) a better option.

    And I don't like the idea of checking a car seat, either, because of the rough handling by airport employees, who knows what stresses the seats are put thru when they are dropped off carts, thrown around, and stuff stacked on top of them at odd angles.

    I did the "smart" thing that I didn't think of before posting, *duh* and called the airport rental location. It's a small one, and the girl went and looked at the seats for me and they are Graco SnugRide and Graco Comfortsport, she says they don't get many requests for them so likely they will be the exact seats we will be using. She said they keep several of each kind "in stock" so if one is questionable I can switch it out with another.

    I have pretty typically sized kiddos, and both fit in the height/weight stats for those seats.

    I of course will be really anal when inspecting them and making sure everything looks normal including their expiration dates. I will not hesitate if I cannot get satisfactory results to take what they have, head to the nearest WalMart and buy 2 Sceneras.
    "Retired" 911 Operator & EMT now Mom to 2 and second Mom to 4.5

  6. #5
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    There's a good chance your 3-year-old won't fit in the Comfortsport.

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    I don't know how big your 3 yr old is, but would he/she fit in an RSTV? Then you could take an RSTV for the 3 yr old, and bring a convertible on the plane....the 3 yr old could use it on the plane, and the baby could use it in the rental car.

    Also, do you baby wear? When I traveled with two kids by myself, wearing my youngest was the only way I got through the airport. And strap the other carseat to a rolling suitcae, Go Go Kidz, etc.
    J, 7 yrs, 41 lbs, Evenflo Big Kid, Recaro Prosport, Turbo SS
    A, 5 yrs, 31 lbs, RF TFP/Princess Radian, and FF SecureKid/Maestro
    M, >1yr, RF TFP/Radian

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    I fly by myself with two toddlers who don't walk very well and definitely don't listen. It is doable. I take both Sceneras on the plane in order to make sure they are not damaged and so my kids have a safe place to sit.

    The double stroller and three of the carry-ons can be checked. Put two Sceneras on luggage carts, roll at least one kid, use a harness for the older one, and carry your remaining carry on. If there is a medical reason you need a second carry on (to carry medical equipment or something), the airline should be able to provide assistance, or you can throw the second carry on in one rolling car seat and insist the older kid walk on the harness. If you also have an Ergo or other baby carrier, you will have even more flexibility and can probably take all 4 carry-ons (something you will definitely regret).

    If a Scenera isn't going to fit your older child, I'm sure other posters can recommend a seat that would work.

    You can be as anal as you want about looking over a car seat, but it can still have hidden damage. And if the car seats are not satisfactory, how do you plan on getting to Walmart?

  9. #8
    CPS Technician leighi123's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Also, the carseat rental company here (from a baby rental supply place) AND the rental seats at one of the car rental places (I forget which) both told me they "thoroughly clean the seats after each use" as per some law regarding shared baby equipment (same one that requires day cares to clean things...). I asked HOW they clean the seats.

    "We spray them with a bleach solution, and if there is vomit/food on them, we wash them in the washing machine" Yes including the harness.

    I looked at their seats and they looked PERFECT, clean, not expired, not damaged. BUT the straps had been sprayed with bleach and/or chucked in the wash. So not safe at all.





    In your situation I would:

    If possible have someone help you when you first get to the airport, they can bring your check-in baggage up to the check-in desk for you, so you dont have to worry about handling that (if you cant do this, the airline people will help you, you can get a bellhop guy to take your bags, or you can rent a cart to carry them)

    Bring a double stroller, put the 2 carseats in it - snap the infant seat in and strap a convertible on top of it. Older child rides in the stroller, baby you wear in a carrier. Diaper bag you put in the stroller basket.

    Once you get to the plane, older child walks, you wear the baby and carry the convertible/diaper bag (someone will offer to help, they always do!). Use the convertible on the plane.


    OR

    Buy 2 small luggage carts (I got mine for $12 at walmart) and buy one more convertable for the baby. Strap each seat to a cart, strap each kid in a seat. Get a back pack or other easy to carry diaper bag. Then pull one kid/carseat combo with each hand. I've done this but with one kid/carseat, one rolly bag, one backpack full of stuff, and one small suitcase with wheels full of ds's stuff, plus food. Its totally doable.

    OR

    You said if their seats arent any good you would run out and buy some - who would watch the kids at the airport while you go buy some? If someone is meeting you at the airport, you could have them buy/bring a seat for the baby, and you bring just a convertible for the 3yr old

    OR

    RSTV for the 3yr old, and bring a convertible for on the plane. 3yr old in the convertible on the plane, and then in the car baby in the convertible, 3yr old in the RSTV. This only works if your 3yr old is big enough for the RSTV.




    I would cancel the trip and not go at all before I'd resort to using a rental carseat. Its the same as buying a used carseat off craigslist, you never know what happened to it before you put your own kids in it, and for me, its not worth the risk. It is possible to travel with 2 kids and 2 seats, and yes its kind of a pain in the butt, but at least you know they will be safe!


    OR
    Mama to my awesome environmentalist kid Levi! (google him if you'd like!)
    7-13-07, 55", 62lbs
    Rearfaced to 8yrs, 9months (is now 10) Still boostered!
    CPST as of 6/19/08!

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  11. #9
    Senior Community Member SuzaBanana's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by LISmama810 View Post
    There's a good chance your 3-year-old won't fit in the Comfortsport.


    The ComfortSport (or as some refer to it here, the CrappySport) is notorious for being out-grown extremely early (like 2 years old) for it's "stated" limits.

    Did they tell you the DOM or Expiration dates of the seats? Have they been recalled?

    I know taking your own seats is a lot to juggle on a trip, but for me it's just part of the gig for traveling with kids. After seeing what I've seen from rental companies, I would rather take public transport than rent a car & car seats
    integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching

  12. #10
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by mom2kk View Post
    The logistics of having to single handedly deal with two kids, a double stroller that doesn't accomodate an infant car seat, 4 carry-ons, a lapbaby, and a 3 y/o who is still working on "listening" skills and following my instructions...plus the 2 checked bags= wanting car seats when I can get them provided upon arrival without charge (AAA benefit) a better option.
    I think you've addressed all of the reasons why I never flew alone with my twins. Since I do not trust the airlines to safely transport my car seats and I do not trust a rental car seat, my only option is to take car seats on the plane.

    The only other option I would consider is having someone meet me at the airport with car seats. Is that a possibility for you? When my DH and I flew to FL with our 2 1/2 yo twins, my FIL met us at the airport. We had our own car seats with us and it was still nice to have another adult to help with the kids.

    Melanie

  13. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnamommy View Post
    I don't know how big your 3 yr old is, but would he/she fit in an RSTV? Then you could take an RSTV for the 3 yr old, and bring a convertible on the plane....the 3 yr old could use it on the plane, and the baby could use it in the rental car.

    Also, do you baby wear? When I traveled with two kids by myself, wearing my youngest was the only way I got through the airport. And strap the other carseat to a rolling suitcae, Go Go Kidz, etc.
    3 y/o is 36" and 32 lbs, still ERF in her Recaro.

    I'm not familiar with RSTV can somebody spell that out for me? Just drawing a blank on what it could mean...looks like a new seat but that's it.

    I did baby wear, but baby's 17 lbs now and haven't done it in months because my back was hurting back at 13-14 lbs. Can't imagine trying to do that and deal with pulling/pushing luggage etc. And then logistics on the plane because they won't let us keep them in a sling/carrier during takeoff/landing...grrr. Remember not liking that years ago when travelled with DD as an infant.

    I do have the T strap again can't recall the name but it uses LATCH connectors to attach a car seat to a suitcase.
    "Retired" 911 Operator & EMT now Mom to 2 and second Mom to 4.5

  14. #12
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by cat mommy View Post
    I fly by myself with two toddlers who don't walk very well and definitely don't listen. It is doable. I take both Sceneras on the plane in order to make sure they are not damaged and so my kids have a safe place to sit.

    The double stroller and three of the carry-ons can be checked. Put two Sceneras on luggage carts, roll at least one kid, use a harness for the older one, and carry your remaining carry on. If there is a medical reason you need a second carry on (to carry medical equipment or something), the airline should be able to provide assistance, or you can throw the second carry on in one rolling car seat and insist the older kid walk on the harness. If you also have an Ergo or other baby carrier, you will have even more flexibility and can probably take all 4 carry-ons (something you will definitely regret).

    If a Scenera isn't going to fit your older child, I'm sure other posters can recommend a seat that would work.

    You can be as anal as you want about looking over a car seat, but it can still have hidden damage. And if the car seats are not satisfactory, how do you plan on getting to Walmart?

    Hadn't thought of checking the double stroller...there's an option. Maybe check it and then take my Scenera occupied by 7 month old attached to a roller suitcase. That'd give me one of my own seats, and the 3 y/o could use it in the plane if I don't get lucky enough to have an empty seat to put the baby in with Scenera.
    "Retired" 911 Operator & EMT now Mom to 2 and second Mom to 4.5

  15. #13
    CPS Technician dneul's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    [quote=mom2kk;1585903]The logistics of having to single handedly deal with two kids, a double stroller that doesn't accomodate an infant car seat, 4 carry-ons, a lapbaby, and a 3 y/o who is still working on "listening" skills and following my instructions...plus the 2 checked bags= wanting car seats when I can get them provided upon arrival without charge (AAA benefit) a better option./QUOTE]

    I have been in this situation before and what I have done is strap the actual carseats to the stroller by using bungee cords. Thread the bungee cords through the seats belt path and around the frame of the stroller. You could then buckle the kids themselves into their car seats and you have an instant travel system for multiple ages. I have used various car seats with various strollers and most will "fit" with a bit of tweaking.

    And I don't like the idea of checking a car seat, either, because of the rough handling by airport employees, who knows what stresses the seats are put thru when they are dropped off carts, thrown around, and stuff stacked on top of them at odd angles.

    I did the "smart" thing that I didn't think of before posting, *duh* and called the airport rental location. It's a small one, and the girl went and looked at the seats for me and they are Graco SnugRide and Graco Comfortsport, she says they don't get many requests for them so likely they will be the exact seats we will be using. She said they keep several of each kind "in stock" so if one is questionable I can switch it out with another. Depending on the car seat you could also use the seats latch straps to secure it to the stroller.
    If you do not trust the airline to handle your seats (I fly with them when I fly), how can you trust the airport rental location with seats? There are just as many variables to the safety of your kids with unknown seats as there is to airline employees.

    I have pretty typically sized kiddos, and both fit in the height/weight stats for those seats.
    The height/ weight stats that manufactures state have very little to do with actual real life height/weight.

    I of course will be really anal when inspecting them and making sure everything looks normal including their expiration dates. I will not hesitate if I cannot get satisfactory results to take what they have, head to the nearest WalMart and buy 2 Sceneras.
    Can you contact the rental location and have 2 new seats shipped from somewhere and have them possibly hold them for you with your paid reservation?

  16. #14
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan06twinmom View Post

    The only other option I would consider is having someone meet me at the airport with car seats. Is that a possibility for you? When my DH and I flew to FL with our 2 1/2 yo twins, my FIL met us at the airport. We had our own car seats with us and it was still nice to have another adult to help with the kids.

    Melanie
    Nobody meeting us @ airport, unfortunately, at dropoff will have help but not during the layover.
    "Retired" 911 Operator & EMT now Mom to 2 and second Mom to 4.5

  17. #15
    Member Mom2Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Having traveled by myself with 2 kids who are 2 years apart several times last year (2 1/2 & 6 months the first time) and getting ready to do it again, I thought I would chime in with the set up we use.

    Double umbrella stroller. 2 Sceneras, puzzled together on one side & bungeed in. Smaller child on the other side (the Scenera does slightly hang over onto her side, but not enough that it bothers her even now at 18 months). Toddler walking, using a [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Eddie-Bauer-Artist-Backpack-Harness/dp/B0033A9MAS"]backpack[/ame] or [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Eddie-Bauer-2-2din-2d1-Harness-Monkey/dp/B0011UNHQ2"]harness[/ame] (I prefer the backpack since child carrying his own toys = 1 less carry on for me). I have a standard large backpack that I use for all of the other "stuff" that we might need in the airports or on the plane. Don't carry a purse - just put your wallet, keys, etc in the backpack.

    Keep in mind that we have a layover in either Chicago or Dallas every trip, so I have to get kids on and off 2 planes and change gates/terminals. Honestly (unless you have medical stuff) I can't see how 4 carry ons are required, but I don't know your situation. Bare minimum to carry and have to worry about is what works best for me.
    J - 9y - 65lbs - booster
    A - 7y - 53lbs - booster
    B - 4y 9m - 36lbs - FF in a Radian
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  18. #16
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by dneul View Post
    The height/ weight stats that manufactures state have very little to do with actual real life height/weight.
    Yes, and many typically sized 3yos have outgrown the ComfortSport both RFing and FFing. Mine would have, and she was on the small side (35%-ile, ish).
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

    Posted from my toaster using a PopTart

  19. #17
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by mom2kk View Post
    3 y/o is 36" and 32 lbs, still ERF in her Recaro.

    I'm not familiar with RSTV can somebody spell that out for me? Just drawing a blank on what it could mean...looks like a new seat but that's it.
    The RSTV is the Ride Safer Travel Vest and details/specs are viewable at http://www.safetrafficsystem.com/ver3/products.php It's usable in a car only and not on board the plane because it requires a top tether when used with a lap-only belt, and commercial plane seats have a lap-belt only and lack a top tether anchor.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
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  20. #18
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    As for babywearing... with a correctly fitted carrier, you should have nearly no strain carrying an average 17 lb child. I carry my 28 lber daily in a SSC. He goes on my back when we go through the airport. I can still wear my 37 lb 5 y/o but for much shorter periods of time (as it's usually unnecessary and he's old enough to walk responsibly). Perhaps you could borrow one for the trip?

    I have only done the solo trip with my kiddos a handful of times. It's not ideal but manageable. We take as little carry on as possible. This is usually just a backpack (which I wear on my front with baby/toddler on my back) and a collapsable trolley with the two car seats bungeed onto it. People who watch me move through the airport either think I'm a genius or totally insane! LOL.

    BTW - Your "T strap" is called the Travelling Toddler and would be VERY useful to bring along.

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  22. #19
    CPS Technician dneul's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    I hate to sound insensitive but what about a doggie leash? You can clip it to the back of a belt look and your off... I have seen the kiddie leash styles but they cost so much more... You could get a cute looking leash at PetsMart for under $5.

  23. #20
    CPS Technician dneul's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seats from Rental Car Companies?

    Here is what they look like...

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