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car seat dilemma

14 replies

lucy123 · 25/05/2003 14:08

I am coming to the UK in July to do a bit of visiting with dd (12 months). I am trying to keep costs down, and my dm has offered to lend me her car for my visiting week, and to pick me and dd up from the airport. I'd buy a carseat.

The only thing is, her car is a bit of an old banger and doesn't have any seatbelts in the back (or airbags, or any new-fangled safety features in fact). So does anyone know:

a) if you can still buy the kind of car seat that bolts into the seat rather than gets fixed in with the seatbelt?

b) if there's any reason why i shouldn't put an ordinary front facing seat in the front?

Of course the other alternative is to hire a car for a week (with a car seat) and hold dd in my arms for the journeys to and from the airport (about an hour each way on A and B roads). Not hugely happy about this alternative, but feeling a bit stumped.

Any thoughts anyone?

OP posts:
LIZS · 25/05/2003 14:18

If you decide to hire a car, and save yourself all sorts of hassle with locating and fitting the seat, could you not pick it up/drop it at the airport, complete with a hired car seat ?

Otherwise could someone like Kwikfit or a Halfords superstore advise/fit one suitable for the car? (a couple of the seats we have hired in UK with a car have had a Kwikfit badge on them).

lucy123 · 25/05/2003 14:32

no, I'm visiting for a month and the budget simply does not strech to hiring a car for the whole time (though it would be easier).

Do all halfords stores have staff who can fit car seats? (never heard of anyone doing that in Spain and my only experience with car seats in the UK was with a very stroppy lady in the car hire place explaining that they don't fit them)

OP posts:
Lindy · 25/05/2003 14:55

Lucy - my understanding, and it is what I do, is that it is OK to have a child seat in the front seat so long as there is no air bag (or if the airbag can be 'turned off'. HTH

Lindy · 25/05/2003 14:56

Not sure where the wink came from, can never do them when I want to !

LIZS · 25/05/2003 15:35


See what you mean about the car hire.

I was thinking of a Halfords superstore because they, at least used to, have car service bays attached and if you needed one bolted in they might do it for you on the spot. Similarly Kwikfit. Perhaps your dm could phone one up for you.

Otherwise could you email Britax, for example, and ask what they would recommend in the circumstances. Just thinking that a big manufacturer might cater for this scenario.

I think that we have come across the same school of jobs-worth Car hire Salesman - here's the seat but don't blame us if you fit it wrongly and twice the booster seats have been missing the shoulder belt guide.

janh · 25/05/2003 17:06

Hi, Lucy!

Can't see any reason why you shouldn't strap her seat in the front, but make sure you push the front seat back to the very end of the runners.

However you can still get seatbelts fitted into old cars that don't have them, as far as I know - years and years ago, before having seatbelts became compulsory, all cars were built with the holes ready-drilled but blocked off, and a garage (or a handy person) should only have to remove the back seat to get at the holes and fit the belt/s. Then your arrangements would be more flexible.

Would your DM (or someone else at home) be up to researching and organising this? (If not send me details of model/year and I'll ring round, I like doing stuff like that!)

lucy123 · 26/05/2003 16:45

thanks janh

Not really sure fitting seatbelts would be worth it (its a 1989 Micra and really is an old banger). In fact I´m still dithering over whether to just hire a car anyway so I can drive at night without worrying about breaking down! (but then I have the to and from airport worry).

I think I´ll just fit the carseat in the front - I just remember reading something about that being bad, but perhaps I imagined it. Now all I have to worry about is whether to bring ours or buy a new one.

OP posts:
EJsMum · 26/05/2003 16:53

Safety experts advise against baby seats being fitted to front seats for these reasons

  1. Airbags (not a concern for you)
  2. It is more likely for an injury to be fatal if the child is sitting in the front seat because of the windscreen.

    But it sounds to me like the front seat is your only option so make sure you get the best quality (Britax win all the safety awards) seat you can afford and make sure it is fitted correctly.
zebra · 26/05/2003 17:20

DO NOT HOLD YOUR CHILD in your arms travelling to & from airport; if child is under seatbelt you will crush her to death in case of accident. Otherwise, she's likely to fly out of your arms in case of sudden stop. I think it's a half-decent compromise if you can slot your child into a Baby-Bjorn (or similar) front sling for the journey, as long as the seat belt is between you & baby.

If you're getting a lift to the airport at your home end, why not bring your own seat? Alternative, Argos does a very cheap & legal seat for child > 1 year -- Klippan? for about £20 (less than $30). Should fit almost any car. MaxiCosy (?cosco?) comes highly recommended on Mumsnet. More pricey at ~£80, but I seem to recall you can fit it rear-facing. Try kiddicare for other decent, bargain price car-seats, too.

codswallop · 26/05/2003 18:37

get one in the small ads - or get your Mum to. Isnt it illegal not to have seat belts in the back?

EJsMum · 26/05/2003 19:01

It's illegal for manufacturers to build cars without seatbelts, but if you own a car that was built before the law came into force (like Lucy's Micra) then it doesn't fall under the same legal constraints.

SueW · 26/05/2003 22:09

I used to have an old Fiesta when I first had DD and although it had seatbelts in the back, I always transported her in the front seat, as there were no airbags.

Can you hire a car through easyjet's car rental arm? I understand they are pretty reasonable.

If you do use a sling/Baby Bjorn to/from airport, make sure your DD's head isn't directly in front of hers as you could crack yours into hers in case of an accident. Also the seatbelt should go between you and her.

soyabean · 26/05/2003 22:13

Easyjet dont do carseats tho their car rental rates are v good (1/2 the price of most others)if you book in advance. So then it cd be worth buying a 2nd hand carseat maybe?

suedonim · 27/05/2003 13:17

If your dd travels in the front seat, make sure that no one sits behind, as an unrestrained rear seat passenger can fly forward and cause terrible injuries in an accident.

My mum used to be 'iffy' about wearing a rear seat belt until I told her I would prefer not to have her rather considerable weight landing on my neck, in the event of an accident.

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