Car Hire and Child Seats – do you need help? 32

This post is sponsored by Drive Now

The school holidays have just finished and I am already thinking about what to do for the next.

  • Where shall we travel?
  • How shall we get around?
  • Will I need to hire a car?  If So:
    • Which company offers the best price?
    • How will we navigate around?
    • What is the cost of insurance?
    • What about child car seat restraints?
      • Do we need one?
      • How much will it cost?
    • What about the rest of the road rules?

There are so many car hire companies, where do you start and how do you get all these questions answered?

Car Hire & child seats


When I start my research and planning for a family holiday abroad I use a comparison site.  There are ones for flights, for hotels and for car hire like the DriveNow comparison website.

Car Hire

DriveNow compares the prices of all the major car hire companies like: Hertz, Europcar, AVIS, Budget, and Thrifty.  They also have options for hiring a campervan (RV) from companies like: Maui, Kea, Britz and more.

Price Comparison Car Hire

Straight away I log in my dates and get the different costing of car hire for each company.  Then I can add-on extras like:

Car Hire and child seats

Car Hire and Child Seat Restraints

But I am not familiar with the laws for child car seat restraints in other countries.

A visit to the dedicated DriveNow link for each country location: Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK, will enable me to read some Frequently Asked Questions which include an outline of that country’s child restraint laws.

Car hire and child seats

UK – Frequently Asked Questions

Car hire and child seats

New Zealand – Frequenly Asked Questions

Do you see the difference in requirements?  Whilst here in Australia we must supply a booster seat until at least the age of 7, in the UK it is until the kids are 12, and in New Zealand they must use a restraint until they are 5 and there after if one is available use one.

But you say to me, “I have heard the seats are not always clean.”  Look we hired a car when we went to Sydney with a toddler and hired a car seat with it.  It was fine.  However if you are worried, take a flannelette baby wrap and use it to line the car seat.  Still worried?  I have more options in my article Car Seat and Travelling – Help?

Road Rules in Foreign Countries

Now my only concern is the rest of the road rules?

Well, on each of the individual country’s webpage are some road rules and travel tips.  It includes helpful tips like:

  • Which side of the road to drive,
  • Speed limits,
  • Drink driving laws and
  • Distances to kilometres and time to get to and from major destinations.

Car Hire

So now I am sorted with the car hire, I just have to decide where we are going 🙂

Have you hired a car? 

Did you hire child restraints?

  •  DISCLOSURE:  This post is sponsored by Drive Now.  Aside from servicing Australia, they provide cheap rental cars in Christchurch, New Zealand. Click here to know more.

Linking Up With:

About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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32 thoughts on “Car Hire and Child Seats – do you need help?

  • Bumble Bee Mum

    Thank you for linking up on Travel Tuesday. It’s interesting how different countries have different requirements where child seats are concerned. Personally, for me, it is not about the law. It is about safety. My children are young, so I always rent child seats for them, regardless of the law requirement in that country. I have never thought about the hygiene and cleanliness actually until you mention it. Safety has always been the only thing on my mind. And keeping the kids to their seats. When on a self-drive vacation, I would be driving while my husband is navigating (or vice versa), so nobody really tends to the kids while we are on the road. I cannot imagine them being without car seats!

  • Natalie

    We hired a car while we were in Croatia recently. We went through one of the bigger car rental companies, and also pre booked a child seat for our youngest (Miss 7 did not need one). Well, we were disappointed to discover that they forgot to provide us with a child seat! And they did not have any at the pick up location. Fortunately, relatives that we were visiting had a spare seat that they no longer required. So my biggest tip would be to triple check with the rental company that child seats will be provided!

  • Ruth - Tanama Tales

    Great tips for renting cars! I think some of these recommendations are not taken into consideration when renting a car in a foreign country. I am not inclined to rent cars when I travel. However, I recognize I would like to rent a car in destinations I would like to revisit.

  • Ling

    hi there Sally, thanks for the post – it’s very informative indeed! Some years back, in the Perth Airport with a reputable international car rental company, I requested for a car seat for my then 6-yo. He took one look at the kid and told me that given his height (he was about 1.25m then), he don’t need a car seat or even a boaster seat anymore. Half a year later, in Italy, another chap insisted that my kid (the same one), now about 1.28m, absolutely need one. That’s been my default, listen to the advise given by the ca rental fellows. It seems Drive Now gonna be a useful resource!

    Best, Ling

  • Matt

    Hi Sally,
    That is a great website, and one I wish we had known about before we booked our car hire for our upcoming trip to Scotland. I will have to read over some of the country tips though before we go driving.
    I wonder if anyone knows, but we have heard that when you hire car seats in the UK you have to install them yourselves? If so, I’m hoping they are pretty straight forward after a long-haul flight :).
    I’ll have to let you know how it goes in a few weeks.

  • Shobha

    Some of the car hire seats were such a pain (and we waited forever to get them etc even though we’d pre-booked them). We wound up buying our twins’ travelling car seats and luggage made for them to go in the hold and carting them around with us. They were massive but we felt the kids were safer. Thank goodness those days are over! #weekendwanderlust

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      At the end of the day Shobba, it is about you feeling your children our safe (and of course abiding by the local laws at the same time). PS I’m glad we are past most of it now too.

  • Cathy (MummyTravels)

    This sounds useful – hiring cars can be a bit of a minefield! Fortunately my husband likes driving, but we’ve had a few dodgy car seats. I’m looking forward to my daughter being old/tall enough for a booster. #mondayescapes

  • Kate , Baby Routes

    Nice post and loving the flanalette tip. I’ve always had a dilemma about car seats…take your own in the hold and you know that it is good quality, clean and comfortable but you don’t know it will fit in the car you’ve hired, it’s a pain to carry and who knows how badly it has been bumped and dropped during transit? Hire a car seat and some places don’t guarantee they will have one – it’s a case of first come first served (though we’ve never yet been caught out), they may be a bit dirty/old and you also don’t know if they’ve been bumped etc. either! A website that at least tells you what the laws are though on seats is a handy start. It’s a minefield! #MondayEscapes

  • Packing my Suitcase

    That’s a very helpful post!
    I think I might have used a website like DriveNow when I was looking for a car hire in Dubai. I love this idea of comparing the companies, so you dont have to go in each of their websites!

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes again 😀