Car Seats and Travelling – Help… 10

It’s a question often asked on the travel forums – “Do I take the car seat for my child when travelling?”

I answer this question, “NO – hire one from a baby hire company at your destination”.  Someone else will then respond, “they won’t deliver to the airport.”  So I decided to look into this further as there can be so much miss information out there on forums.

First let’s look into why NOT to take your own car seat.

If you’re taking the family on a flight these are the reasons it’s best to leave your car seat at home.

  • Loss or Damage.
    • Airport conveyor equipment can be quite rough with your luggage.  Airline staff generally do there best in looking after your belongings, however there is no guarantee that your car seat will come out without damage.
    • If there is an item of luggage that gets forgotten to be loaded it’s the prams and car seats as they are put aside for last minute loading (to prevent damage).
  • Safety.
    • Does your car seat meet the safety guidelines of the country you are travelling?
    • Will your car seat attachment fit the local cars?
    • Cathy from Hire for Baby says “it is a continual problem when foreigners arrive in Australia.”
    • You could choose to take your car seat on board, just make sure you arrange this with your booking .  Consider whether your child will want to be strapped in the seat the entire flight.  My son would rather sleep across the seats with his head on my lap and feet on his father.
    • If you decide forgo the baby seat and are worried about safety consider the Cares safety harness (this has been pre-approved by CASA).
    • For an infant use the lap belt attachment offered by Flight Attendants; if you don’t get offered the belt, ask for it.
      • The infant lap belt is an additional separate belt that is threaded onto your seat belt.  In an emergency you will only need to undo your own belt and pick up baby who will still have belt attached.
      • Never and I mean never put your baby inside your own belt.  This is extremely dangerous and can crush baby.
      • *Infant lap belts are not available on US, Canadian or German aircraft’s.
  • Heavy and difficult to transport.
    • Most airlines have very strict guidelines with baggage, they will generally only allow one piece of baby equipment (if that); usually all  other baby paraphernalia are included in your total weight allowance.
    • Plus now you have to add your car seat on top of all your luggage you are carrying into the airport.
  • Cost
    • If your child is under 2 years then you do not have to purchase a ticket for domestic flights (be aware you need to advise the airline the infant is travelling) or pay a nominal fee for international.
    • If you choose to take the car seat on-board then you will have to purchase a ticket for that seat regardless of your child’s age.  You will not be able to remove the seat during the flight if your child would prefer to lie down.

Next finding a baby equipment hire company that delivers to the airport.

Hiring booster seats for 4-7 years

All children 4-7 years in Australia must use a booster seat.

So unless you are taking a road trip from home you won’t have your car seat.  Now your stressed about the hire car having a suitable clean car seat, or safety when travelling in a taxis.

Start by Googling “baby hire plus your destination.”  Sadly then, it’s a matter of clicking on each company and reading.  Most of the companies will state on the home page about their products being sterile and clean.  Go to the car seat page or delivery page, the information about delivery should be written here.

If it’s a little confusing as to whether they can help you at your destination use the “contact us” button and ask.

Each company is slightly different in the service they offer.  For example Australia’s Hire for Baby will deliver and install your car seat and load other baby goods hired into your hire car. Where as USA’s The Travelling Baby Company (in some states) will meet you on arrival to hand over the car seat for you to fit.  There are many baby hire companies throughout the UK eg. in London there is The Baby Loft, in Manchester Cheshire Baby Hire that deliver to the airport.  In Italy I found Bambino Equipment Hire.  The more I looked the more I found.

These services are not confined to developed nations.  In Phuket, Phuket Baby Rentals will deliver car seats to the airport car rentals and most airport agencies.  Bali Baby also deliver to the airport in Denpasar or to your Bali hotel/villa.

Safety for your child does not need to be compromised whilst you travel.  It just takes a little planning and research.

Let us know about any other great baby equipment hire companies you have used.

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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10 thoughts on “Car Seats and Travelling – Help…

  • Cam @ notunimportant

    We were just talking about taking a trip this evening. And now you’ve answered all those questions before I even had then. Thanks. Visiting via #fybf.

    • Toddlers on Tour Post author

      Glad we could help.

      Don’t forget to keep popping back as you plan each step of your trip.

      From what type of accommodation to choose, flying or driving with the kids through to what to pack for the entire family.

      Happy travels

  • Camille

    Great post on this recurrent question. And here, in Paris, we of course do deliver to the Paris airports (with no extra delivery fee).

    • Toddlers on Tour Post author

      Thanks for the tip I have amended the post.

      Upon further research I have learnt that the infant Lap belt extension is not available on US, Canadian or German carriers.
      However it is still widely available on others.

  • Jody Halsted

    For US travelers with kids under 2, I highly recommend using an approved car seat on the plane. I’ve seen lap-children on US flights bumped and bruised during turbulence. Children are comfortable in their car seats and they can actually help children be less fussy on a flight (known seat vs. unknown).

    For children over 2 (which mine are now), we use a CARES 5 point seat belt attachment for added safety.

    Just my 2 cents as a mom who has been traveling with her kids since they were 3 months old.

    • Toddlers on Tour Post author

      Yes, you are a distinct disadvantage travelling in the States as the lap belt is not an option for you.

      As I mentioned in the article purchasing an airline seat for your car seat and child is definitely an option to transport your car seat to your destination.

  • Grace

    We specifically booked a van with car seats when we were in Bali. Oh my, was that a stressful time. The drivers had no idea how to adjust them and with all the chaos and craziness of the airport, it took us forever to get them right.
    Always better to be safe than sorry. Especially when dealing with Bali traffic!