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Car seats and holidays? What do you do?!

13 replies

pob · 01/01/2002 14:31

Daughter now 18 months old, live abroad. Returning to UK to visit grandparents whilst husband travels with work. Also looking for solution when visiting friends/holidaying...do we really have to take car seat? (not renting car) Are there no lightweight five-point harnesses available or inflatable chairs? What do you do when going to Barbados, etc. PS: have already lost brand new pushchair courtesy of Heathrow airport, don't fancy losing the carseat as well...and whatever happened to travelling light?!

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Marina · 01/01/2002 18:45

Hi Pob, we bought a Britax Ranger to go in my parents' car when we visit them by train. It is light, well manufactured, easy to fit and converts to a booster, so will last him til he is at least eight.
It cost us £45, which we thought was reasonable.
We were going to get a Klippan Folda, which is all in one and folds up (maybe more suitable for taking on planes etc, and roughly the same price) but it did VERY badly in a recent Which survey of car seat safety.
I would ask your parents to buy it locally. I believe you will not get a car seat for a child with a hire car in the UK because of the rules relating to using a car seat which might have been involved in an accident. Others may know better - I heard that at third hand!

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pob · 02/01/2002 20:03

Thank you Marina; nice to know about the Folda, hadn't heard. I'll check out the Britax Ranger....do you think it's light enough to go on planes etc for holidays? )

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Marina · 03/01/2002 09:52

It's very light, Pob, but a bit awkwardly-shaped. You could easily put it into one of those nets you can buy to secure backpacks, or a special buggy bag. I have seen these advertised in some catalogues (the nets in the Field and Trek one, for example) but we have not used them ourselves.

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Tia · 03/01/2002 11:15

We visit my relatives in South Africa, and have the same issue. We hire a car seat out there, but I am not sure if you can do the same in the UK since second hand car seats are not recommended. What age can you use a booster seat from?

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Bugsy · 03/01/2002 12:09

We always hire a car seat with a car when we are away. We did this when we went to Scotland last Autumn, so unless the rules have changed since then you should be able to do that.
Enjoy your holidays POB.

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pob · 04/01/2002 11:06

Thanks for the ideas! Unfortunately I haven't driven since before leaving the uk many many years ago, so hiring a car isn't really an option without hub....thinking of taking 'refresher' lessons, but if you've ever seen Parisien drivers, you'll understand my reluctance!!!! Have visited the Britax site....looks like best option...otherwise train....anyone tried 4hr journey alone with 18month old and change in London?! Tips?

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SueDonim · 04/01/2002 13:53

I've done 24hr train journeys on my own with a 5yr old and a baby, so it can be done, Pob. I found a pushchair/buggy essential, either for the baby or for the luggage.

I also commandeered people to help. People are a bit shy of offering help but are usually more than happy to lend a hand when asked, even on Carstairs station at 5 o'clock on a February morning (shudder!).

It felt extravagant but taking a cab across London was always the best option for me. Saves untold hassle on the Underground/bus. Good luck!

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Marina · 04/01/2002 16:00

Pob, I haven't flown with a car-seat but I have just done 2 x 4 hour train trips with my 2 year old. We travelled by Virgin, and for all the flak the company gets for the punctuality of its services, I could not fault the platform and train staff both at Euston and Penrith (pretty much middle of nowhere and the sort of station that used to have one booking clerk until 5.30pm on the dot in BR's day). They were great.
SueDonim's tip about a pushchair is spot on. I also bought a big holdall that converted to a rucsac (quite pricy but worth every penny) and used REINS on my little dear, much to his disgust.
I splashed out on a taxi to take me from one London terminus to the other. For under £20 return I felt this was excellent value.
On the train, I took lots of light, small toys, stickers and crayons, and plenty of snacks. It went better than I thought it would, I must say. I was dreading it.

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MalmoMum · 04/01/2002 18:16

I recommend a backpack in you have one/get hold of one. My 16 month old is happily undercontrol for getting on and off the train and you can unfold your buggy to put your luggage on. I find it easier on the train than the plane at this stage as they can walk around.

I agree as well about connecting with a cab (I miss black cabs) but do try to miss rush hour.

All the best

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pob · 09/01/2002 13:00

Thanks Malmomum; I do have a backpack which I used all the time here until I got pregnant again...can't do the strap up!!! It made life so easy here - metro and buses no problem, although it means I've never yet taken a pushchair on a train....mine's a chicco trecking, foldable but still quite bulky; do you use something smaller? PS: Have decided to take car seat - will give time for the manufacturers to come up with an inflatable one....if they can do life rafts, I'm sure it must be possible!

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MalmoMum · 09/01/2002 14:34

Don't know if I made myself clear but I meant one you can put your little one in. Then your hands are free to manhandle your luggage and pushchair off the train. You should be able to manage a wheelie suitcase as well as the buggy to the taxi queue or put your luggage in the pushchair.

Recently done here to Oslo which was a 4 hr train, change at same station, 4 hours again however did have my husband with me. We managed with our pegasuas three wheeler but realised we never used it at the other end. Last year did almost 30 flights with ds, about half on my own, and always took the pegasus rather than the Maclaren umbrella buggy (and still have both!).

Where are you heading on for and for how long? Can't remember how this thread has gone, is there nowhere that you can hire a car seat? There are places where you can hire pushchairs for example, it just seems like an awful palava to take one with you. Most modern black cabs have some sort of child seat built in. I did used to lobby in transport safety so don't want to discourage your efforts just make things more stream lined for travelling. I have strapped ds in the backpack and strapped that into taxis back from the station here, never seen any statistics on backpacks and accidents.

Hope you do get travelling.

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Rhiannon · 09/01/2002 19:31

pob, is there no way you could borrow a car seat whilst in the UK. Ask your Mum to contact her local branch of the NCT, I'm sure someone would be able to help her by lending or renting one to her, obviously also checking that it has never been in an accident.

The NCT aren't allowed to sell car seats at Nearly New Sales though due to safety reasons. R.

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pob · 09/01/2002 20:20

Thanks Rhiannon and Malmomum! I'm only going to stay with parents and being collected at the airport, which is pathetic for this fuss I guess...but wanted to visit friends, and am tired of being pretty unadventurous in the travel arena....ever since dd went into a 'proper' car seat from a rock-a-tot carseat thing, I've been trying to find a lightweight, yet safe, solution. It's really great to hear that people are travelling successfully with little ones - guess it's time to just go ahead and do it....! Thank you!

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