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car hire and car seats

39 replies

Alison222 · 31/05/2001 14:48

Has anyone had experience of car hire in France? We are told that they cannot guarantee our request for a car seat.
My 6 mth boy is too large for his first car seat now, but is only just sitting up and I have been told that he should not sit forward facing until 9 months although he is past the 20lb mark. This is OK at home in our current seat.
Can you take car seats on planes? Do they count as part of your luggage allowance as our seat is very heavy.

OP posts:
Spring · 31/05/2001 15:22

I booked car hire with a child seat last March with Hertz, at first I tried to do it using their web site but it was taking too long so I rang them up and booked it. In fact, in the end the hire was cheaper by ringing them (phone no for central reservations is on their web site)!! I arranged to collect the car at Perpignan airport and although they forgot to put the seat in the car it had been reserved for me and was in their office. I have booked again for two weeks time. By the way, at the airport there were about 4 car hire desks and the only one with customers was Hertz. I paid by credit card and they gave me a booking reference to quote.

Nw · 31/05/2001 17:46

I would check with the airline you are flying with, some allow car seats to be strapped into plane seats, but I guess at 6 months old you haven't paid for a seat for him. We booked with Hertz in Italy a couple of years ago and the car seat was fine. Both of my boys went into a forward facing seat before 9 months, I think their weight is an issue rather than age

Sc · 31/05/2001 22:20

Just a thought, check out the hirers policy on car seats. If they've been in an accident, do they get rid of them. I used to work in car hire, and we wouldn't touch them with a barge pole for insurance reasons.

Hmonty · 01/06/2001 08:28

We have always taken car seats with us as luggage. Never had any problems. It is included in the weight restriction but if we can get them on to a flight with the amount of luggage we take then I'm sure you'll be OK (two travel cots, two cars seats, double pushchair...and that's before we even think of taking any clothing/toys/toiletries!!).

Alison222 · 01/06/2001 09:08

thank you everyone. I will just have to cross my fingers that the car seat is there I think.

Re the age thing. I was told by staff in Mothercare world and by a Mamas and Papas rep that it is to do with the relative weight of the head to the body and that if you have an accident that the risk is that any whiplash would be much more severe.
has anyone else heard of this?

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Nw · 01/06/2001 14:11

We have mamas and papas, maxi priori and mothercare car seats, nobody has mentioned this, it could make sense though. My only thought is that our 8 month old, who weighs 18lbs was quite upset in the rear facing seat and always pulling himself forward or upright and is much happier in the larger forward facing seat.

Pupuce · 01/06/2001 16:50

I rented a car with Avis at Marseille airport with a car seat-no problem at all. They asked for what age and we got the right seat. There was a fee but I can't recall how much - it wasn't a lot.

Lizp · 02/06/2001 10:51

Depending on where you're going you may want to check that your own car seat will fit in the car. We took a brixtax rock a tot to the USA and found it really hard to get it to fit in cars - the front seats had air bags and the rear belts were nearly all too short. Would guess you are less likely to see this problem in Europe.

Alison222 · 04/06/2001 10:36

We are actually picking up the car from Bordeaux airport but the car hire company uses whatever is the local operator at that airport and we aren't sure to find out about their car seat policy - will have to try harder to get some info I guess - If all else fails we may take ours just in case.

Any other travel tips for what I may forget very welcome.

OP posts:
Suew · 04/06/2001 11:28

Have never hired a car in France but have had some appalling experiences with car hire co's and car seats.

Hired with Avis on a two month trip to Virginia, USA. Picked up car - no-one would show me either how to fit the seat or put it in for me - presumably fear of litigiation if all went wrong.

On the same trip, flew to Canada. Hired a car with National. Car seat again unfitted and no-one could fit it. Canadian car seats, like Australian and NZ seats have an additional anchor strap which has to be fitted into an anchor point in the boot. No-one could show us what to do.

In neither case was an instruction book provided and I had to rely on my own knowledge and the instructions printed on the seats themselves.

When our daughtr was 20mo we went out to Spain and used Hertz. I told the person I booked with of my horrific expereinces and she said they guaranteed the correct seat and that it would be fitted. And it was.

I can't remember whether I used Avis or Hertz when I flew to Edinburgh but again the seat was in an office and I had to collect it and fit it myself.

Just my experience

Pupuce · 04/06/2001 14:15

Well obviously my experience with Avis in Marseille (see below) was better as the seat was perfectly fitted.
If you have a travel high chair (one that is of cloth and stores flat)... take it, it's much easier to have your child properly seated in a restaurant as they don't always have high chairs.

I find France (I know it well) years behind in terms of changing facilities when I go shopping though the hypermarche (like Auchan, Champion,...) usually have changing rooms.

The good news is that you will probably have very nice weather and you will definitely eat VERY well ! Oh and by the way, they sell "baby chef" (I think) from Bledina -it's meals in plastic plates which you need to re-heat in a microwave... it's a bit more interesting than the old jar and very convenient if you go to a restaurant.

Have fun

Alison222 · 05/06/2001 20:20

any idea where to get a travel high chair? the only ones I've seen have been in mothercare and are heavy - screw onto a table and come with a list of table types they don't fit. Alternatively there was a huge, heavy booster seat for a normal chair.

did you find the heat a bit much for your child?
If so how did you keep him (her?) cool?

OP posts:
Chairmum · 05/06/2001 22:52

Companies like Great Little Trading Company and Blooming Marvellous sell fabric seats which can be fitted into your handbag. But they're really just to keep the baby in one place and don't raise them up to table height. Jolly useful for about 12 quid, though.

Pupuce · 06/06/2001 08:42

The travel high chair I have was a gift (great one actually!) - it looks very similar (but slightly more convenient) than the Mothercare padded table seat (24.99). Mine isn't that heavy, folds completely flat (so easy to transport) and fits on most tables.
Mine came from Natalys (a French shop!) so maybe once in France you can find a better choice - probably cheaper (though they pay tax on baby goods so it might be more expensive!) and you can also decide if you do want to buy one.

Suew · 06/06/2001 09:05

You could also have a look at the Handysitt. It's recommended on mumsnet here.

Tinker · 03/07/2002 21:23

Has anyone taken a car seat as hand luggage since September? Last summer, I took my daughter's booster seat this way but, since September, there seem to be restrictions of one piece of hand luggage per passenger. Has anyone had any problems/experience of this since then?

Reluctant to hire a car seat when I can carry the booster seat.


sjd · 03/07/2002 21:56

We recently went to Portugal taking with us a booster and a Super Cruise car seat. I simply removed the kids from them at the airport wrapped them (the seats not the kids) in bin liners secured with heavy tape and put them in the over size baggage - no problems at all and much less hassle than trying to fit an unfamiliar seat or being supplied with one which does not fit at all. We did the same thing on a trip to Scotland this year and I saw someone with just a booster bring it on as hand luggage on that occasion - it probably depends on how full the flight is.

Fionn · 04/07/2002 08:30

We've taken a booster seat and a full size car seat with us on flights a couple of times in the last few months and are doing it again tomorrow. Never had a problem. They usually tag them and ask you to take them to the outsize luggage bit to hand in. We've always had terrible problems when ordering car seats with hire car companies. They've either been broken, filthy, the wrong size or non-existent. It really annoys me that so little attention is paid to the provision of car seats by hire companies, it must be such a common request, but they never got it right in our experience. Se we always lug our own now.

Fionn · 04/07/2002 08:35

Meant to say we've always checked the car seat in to Outsize Luggage and taken the booster (it's just the basic seat bit) on as hand luggage.

manna · 04/07/2002 12:44

I just hired a car seat for my 2 week holiday in france and I think it was about 16 quid for the whole time. Compared with lugging car seat on tube, stanstead express, into plane, off plane etc. I thought it was money well spent, as it's our first time abroad with ds and I'm sure there'll be enough problems travelling with him anyway, so I thought we might as well minimise the hassle if possible.

Fionn · 04/07/2002 14:08

Manna - was the car seat ok? which hire company was it? I'd much rather hire them but haven't had a single good experience, even with big names like Hertz. Probably because they usally don't have mothers running the offices, it's not a priority!

Tinker · 04/07/2002 21:43

Fionn - I was planning to take booster as hand luggage like last year but it's just me and my daughter and wasn't sure if you were allowed more than 2 items of hand luggage - I know I wasn't in February (didn't hire a car then).


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Fionn · 04/07/2002 21:53

Tinker - which airline are you going on? I know Ryanair are very strict but you could always check with the airline first. If they didn't allow it as hand baggage you could always check it in. Also, if your daughter is over 2 which she presumably is, she's allowed a piece of hand baggage anyway, or does she have her own little bag? They'd have to be real jobsworths to stop you taking it on board I think!

Tinker · 04/07/2002 22:03

Cheers Fionn. It was Ryanair in Feb but it is Buzz in August. And yes, my daughter does have her little bag! I'll check with them. They come in quite handy to sit on when the flight is delayed!

SofiaAmes · 09/07/2002 01:39

The only bad experience I've ever had with taking a car seat on a plane was with RyanAir. I had purchased a seat for my son (9 mo. at the time) and planned to put him in it in the car seat. We had our car seat confiscated and the flight attendant tried to give away our son's car seat as he said that we shouldn't have purchased him one as he was under 2 years and could have sat on my lap for free. Normal airlines are thrilled if you purchase a seat and bring a car seat on board. And most non-budget airlines don't count a carseat as part of your luggage allowance. Having said that, I rent cars frequently in italy and los angeles and have never had any trouble preordering a car seat, but have always had trouble finding anyone to help fit it. They always seem to be the same type, so I've got the hang of them now. They only ever have forward facing ones, so definitely bring your own if your child is under 20lbs.

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