using a car seat in country where they don't use them!(14 Posts)
In April we will be going to Libya to visit my husband's family with my dd who is 2 years old. I want to use a car seat while we are there- we will be moving about in family cars and taxis but no-one there uses car seats. I am worried that 1) people will think we are mad 2) we may not be ale to use the seat as there might not be working seat belts 3) it will be awkward traveling with family members as we will take up more room and possibly put their kids in more danger as they will be squashed with even more per car not to mention the inconvenience of having to lug our car seat about wherever we go. Safety is of course my first concern and the roads/driving is pretty crazy. Does anyone have any experience of using a car seat in a country where its not the norm and how did you get on? Also our seat is far too heavy and bulky to take- any recommendations of the best type 1 car seats to travel with and has anyone used one on the plane or is it best to check it in? Thanks in advance
I know your DD is a little young, but would a booster seat be a better idea than a full size car seat? We got a Trunki car seat for 2 year old DS for situations where the alternative was no car seat (eg. taxis, on holiday) as I figure it is better than nothing.
Thanks SamSmalaidh the trunki bootstapak looks great but I think she is too young for it now. She is only 11.5 kg- I think these are for four years up.
I think trying to use an age-appropriate car seat for a two year old is going to be a huge problem. We went to India when DS was four. While I would have been much happier using a car seat, I knew, for all the reasons that you outline (minus the family members thinking we were mad - we don't have family there) that it just wasn't going to be possible. So we didn't take one, and kept travelling in cars to an absolute minimum, and of course we were fine - but it is playing the odds.
I'm almost certain that you're right about there not being any working seat belts in the back of the cars - in India, most people remove the rear seat belts as soon as they take delivery of a car and I'm willing to bet they do the same in Libya. You're also going to feel obliged to travel in family members' cars, so you can't even request and insist on a taxi with seatbelts - which we did in India. You're also not going to be able to ask whoever's driving to take their foot off the gas/stop trying to overtake on blind bends/look at the road instead of turning round to speak to you and your DS in the back seat, because it'll be a relative of your husband's, and you risk causing dire offence by criticising their driving.
Looking at the WHO stats for deaths in road traffic accidents (there's a really good website called World Health Rankings which collates loads of information on factors affecting health and mortality in different countries) suggests that Libyan roads are pretty dangerous. I would be absolutely consumed with anxiety every time we got into a car - but you may be less neurotic than me.
We bought a 'sit 'n stroll' car seat which has wheels that pull out from underneath and a handle which pulls up from the top. We bought it in the Middle East and have often used it when travelling. They are not easy to find as not something that is normally sold in the UK but you might find one on ebay.
Alternatively, you'll just have to try to use a booster seat. Surely some of the cars will have seat belts fitted?
Thanks for your comments. I have come across recommendations for the sit and stroll mostly from US websites/blogs etc. however, even with this or another car seat we may still come up against the no belts in the back problem.I think I too will be filled with anxiety every time we get in car, although we will be able to ask family drivers to slow down without causing offence- its the other road users I'm worried about.
I just came across this hilarious blog
where the dad talks about the sometimes ridiculous measures he took to keep his kids safe, when in fact most measures they took would have been useless in a crash. Maybe we might have to 'play the odds' as there is no alternative. However I think some cars will have seat belts in the back, Its just a case of do we insist on taking up more space and using them. There is also a link for the blog mentioned above to some research in the US that children above 2 are just as safe with a booster seat and seat belt as they are in an age appropriate car seat, in fact it claims they are safer- food for thought- so maybe the trunki boostApak might be an option..with a working seat belt of course!
"Theres a modest amount of evidence that there is little difference between car seats and seat belts for this group of children. For a great summary of the idea listen to the TED talk from Steven Levitt (the author of Freakonomics):
orlando I think we just think about our children's safety in cars a bit differently than those in other countries.
I used to live in the Middle East and it was sadly a very common occurence to see cars going past at 100 kph with a toddler either standing between the two front seats or sitting on the dad's lap whilst he was driving
Due to the recklessness of Libyan drivers, short-term visitors are discouraged from driving themselves and are advised to use a reputable limousine service instead. Many vehicle services have re-opened in Libya while others have begun operating in Libya. Visitors and residents alike should always wear seatbelts, and are strongly encouraged to bring an approved car seat for infants and young children. Libyans do not generally use seatbelts or infant/child seats.
yikes! reading the link above paints a very bleak picture. If we didn't have a family connection we certainly wouldn't be choosing it as a holiday destination based on this advise. The security situation is not something we know about totally but other relatives have been very recently and report that things are stable. Although this is not something I feel comfortable with. MOSagain we were in The Emirates for while pre-baby so I know what you mean about the driving, mind you it was the same on holiday in Crete where we hired a car. I think I am definitely going to insist on the car seat and be pedantic about it. No seat belts- no go! They might think I'm mad but at least I will feel we are taking basic precautions.
Could you hire a car for your relatives to use while you are there? Maybe something like a 7 seater, sell it as you want everyone to be comfortable and then stick the baby seat in it.
I have a federally approved (legal in US as a car seat) car vest, which you put on your child and the seat belt attaches through the back of the vest. You can sit your child on your lap with the seat belt through the back of the vest, so you are both belted in with one belt. I used it a lot when travelling with small children as it only weighs a pound or two. If you PM me, I would be happy to send it to you, if you can promise either to use it or pass it on to someone who will. (It was quite expensive and very useful to me, so I don't want it to go to waste, but I'm not interested in trying to sell it.)
My ideas are:
kiddy seat which belts in really easily
Booster, as mentioned
I think GLTC sell 'seat belt adjusters'
In the case of no seat belt, using a sling like the ergo
Out and about - using a seat that will fit in a buggy to be carried.
Is there any chance she is small enough to fit in an infant carrier?
Having more than one means available so the you can adapt to the situation.
We have tried the insurance trick before! Just said to friends/ relatives that our insurance is invalid if any of us get in a car without a seatbelt. ( passes the blame onto someone else )
I would personally take a high back booster style with 5 point harness. Then 2 year old can be strapped to seat, and seatbelt strap car seat to car. I would find out before if relatives have seatbelts, and if not arrange for a car to be hired with one ( I'm sure they will love driving around in a fancier car for a while on your expense)
Kiddicare have lots for £45 or under ATM in the sale ( the 9month-4 year car seats). Buy one and leave it there for anyone else to use in future/ relatives own children.
Thanks everyone for your lateral thinking. All the solutions are good and maybe it will work to try a combination approach as I don't know quite what the situation will be until we get there. claraschu I had not heard anything about these vests so am intrigiued, many thanks for your offer. I will pm you shortly!
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