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Safe car travel for tots abroad

(18 Posts)
Lilysmum Tue 30-Sep-03 11:30:19

Hmmmph - my last post got lost, so here we go again.

I shall be going to Malta for a long weekend in a couple of months time when my dd will be 18 months old. How do we ensure safe car travel for her (i.e. taxi journey from airport to hotel, and also we will be hiring a car). What do you do with your small children? - do you haul a big bulky second stage car seat with you as part of your luggage allowance, or do you manage by perching your child on your knee and hoping for the best (I'd rather avoid this if possible)

Any advice greatly appreciated

musica Tue 30-Sep-03 11:34:55

Some taxis have car seats built in. Otherwise, and this is probably far from ideal, you can put them in a buggy which will go in the back of a black taxi. Not great I know, but other than taking a car seat I don't know of any other options.

lucy123 Tue 30-Sep-03 11:35:16

Lilysmum - have you tried using one of those polystyrene full length booster car seats? They're clearly not as good as a proper car seat, but they are certainly better than nothing and much lighter/smaller. Do you know the ones I mean? They don't cost much either.

For the future I'm going to invent a special car-strap that attaches to the parents strap, so you can travel with your child on your knee in safety. Kind of like the ones they have on aeroplanes only with shoulder straps. That's top secret though.

lucy123 Tue 30-Sep-03 11:37:19

Lilysmum - have you tried using one of those polystyrene full length booster car seats? They're clearly not as good as a proper car seat, but they are certainly better than nothing and much lighter/smaller. Do you know the ones I mean? They don't cost much either.

For the future I'm going to invent a special car-strap that attaches to the parents strap, so you can travel with your child on your knee in safety. Kind of like the ones they have on aeroplanes only with shoulder straps. That's top secret though.

Tissy Tue 30-Sep-03 11:46:38

I doubt very much if taxis in Malta will have child seats. If you're arranging your care hire in the UK, you can probably request one, but if not, you may have difficulty. I think the idea of one of the polystyrene boosters is good- I think Britax make them. It would be bulky, but not heavy.

FWIW, I wouldn't let my child travel on my knee anywhere, but absolutely not in Malta, the standard of driving out there leaves a lot to be desired!

(Sorry to any closet Maltese Mumsnetters out there!)

dadslib Tue 30-Sep-03 12:04:18

Message withdrawn

BigBird Tue 30-Sep-03 12:55:15

or there is the tote 'n go portable car seat - I asked about it before. I have brought my link up to the top of the Products section for you to see.

HTH

BigBird Tue 30-Sep-03 12:56:14

or there is the tote 'n go portable car seat - I asked about it before. I have brought my link up to the top of the Products section for you to see.

HTH

CnR Tue 30-Sep-03 13:04:12

Just added to this - another query?

Is there any cheap but safe way of transporting toddlers on a coach which only has lap belts. We had to do this on holiday abroad and I did a couple of weeks ago in the UK too. I am also going on a coach again next week with DD. Normally I never have to so don't want to spend much at all. I had to have 17mo DD loose (sat in a seat next too me, holding onto her the whole journey) but didn't like, but had NO choice.

Any ideas of any products?

JJ Tue 30-Sep-03 20:03:21

CnR, this is just a best guess, but maybe reins attached closely to the lap belt? I think it would be better than you holding her and would probably be better than the lap belt itself, depending on how well you fastened the reins (I guess I would tie it on like you tie on a fish hook, but...).

Someone probably has a better idea or opinion, in which case, I agree with her.

CnR Tue 30-Sep-03 20:06:11

JJ - never thought of that; if all else fails then I will have a go with that next week. Cheers!

thirtysomething Tue 30-Sep-03 22:23:43

In my experience car hire firms like holiday autos who actually hire the car for you through the bigger firms like Avis and Hertz often forget to book the car seat for you - you can turn up at the airport and be told there are no car seats left, so even though these firms are cheaper they can enormously add to the stress. If you don't want to take your own then book car hire directly through one of the firms present in the airport (look up the airport on google or somewhere and check which firms are there) by phoning their UK reservations service then confirm the car seat booking by fax to the desk at the airport if you can - otherwise they can always say they didn't get the message (this has happened to us due to a Holiday Autos mistake) If you're really worried take your own lightweight one as others have suggested as airlines are happy to transport them usually and they don't weigh much.

Bossanova Tue 30-Sep-03 23:18:03

We took our own car seat for ds (he was nearly 2) when we flew to Switzerland. We needed it for the taxi to the airport and for the hire car. Easycar didn't do car seats. Yes the car seat is bulky, BUT you don't have to carry it anywhere as you put it on a trolley with your luggage, then check it in with the luggage. At the airport at the other end it was waiting on a trailer with our buggy and others (undamaged as well!). Then it's back on the trolley with the luggage until you get your hire car. Simple!

Ghosty Tue 30-Sep-03 23:47:23

It is really dangerous to put a child on your lap especially with the seat belt around the both of you. If there is an accident then your weight would ... well ... doesn't even bear thinking about does it?
We have always taken our car seat with us (do not trust hiring them) ... and airlines do not include them in your weight allowances ... car seats and buggies are just checked in as extra. We always wrap ours in bubble wrap and then a big black bin liner (clearly labelled) to avoid too much damage ...
I wouldn't suggest the polystyrene ones until your child is at least 2 or over 13 kgs. (We bought one when DS was just 2 and it was fine but wouldn't have done it earlier as the seatbelt can rub into their necks as they are too little - they are reasonably cheap - 19.99 from Argos IIRC).
On the coach front ... hmmmmm ... we did a minibus ride from Kuala Lumpur Airport to the Hotel once ... nightmare ... I was terrified!! Would avoid coaches/minibuses now but don't have any suggestions on what to do if you have to go on one I am afraid!

monkey Wed 01-Oct-03 06:20:26

I agree, Lilysmum, there is no way I'd risk it. The agro of lugging a car seat for a relatively short time/distance period is nothing compared with the risks & the guilt if, God forbid, anything did happen.

Dunno where you're going (can't remember where I was anyway), but my memory of Maltese roads is that they were Very bumpy, often rough tracks the minute you were out of the town, and a bit of a wild ride all round. I'd go for the agro & take the car seat.

CnR Wed 01-Oct-03 08:48:23

I agree that you should never have a child on your lap under a seat belt too - way too dangerous. Apparantly less dangerous to be on your lap without being under the seat belt (obviously you get fastened in).

There is no way my car setat could be taken on a plane - it is huge and very heavy. And it doesn't fir with a lap belt anyway. That is my coach dliemma next week - travelling on coach in UK. I am going on a school visit and DD is coming along (to Alton Towers) as I have no early morning and late evening childcare available.

Lilysmum Wed 01-Oct-03 12:37:12

Thanks for all the advice - don't worry I wasn't ever seriously considering Lily perched on my lap, and I was casting around for safer solutions....

Initially I was going to go for the 'hire a car seat from the hire car company and pick up hire car from the airport' option, until thirtysomething rightly pointed out that the car hire company might cock up and run out of car seats / forget to organise it. I'm risk averse so wouldn't want to chance that.

So I'm now going to go for the ultrasafe belt and braces approach of taking my second stage car seat after all - bubble wrapped and well packaged like Ghosty suggests. I looked into buying a lightweight car seat to take with us (as per Tissy's suggestion) but the Britax cruiser plus which fits the bill, costs £59 and I can't justify the expense. So am going to take our existing 2nd stage car seat - it doesn't sound such a hassley experience as I anticipated.

Although it will be interesting next year when I have a new baby and thus 2 car seats to consider!

leese Tue 07-Oct-03 19:15:56

Lilysmum - Britax Cruiser Plus £43 online at kiddicare.com.(free p+p). I know, cos I've just ordered one for this very reason, and it'll be big enough to last dd a good while

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