Taking Car Seats on Holiday, Hiring Car Seats Abroad, and other options!

Emma, yesterday I found a great Baby Holiday. I was about to book, and then I started to worry what to do about car seats…on the way to the airport, on the plane, on the transfer coach. I wondered if you could ease my mind, and let me know how mums overcome this particular problem?

I have received this same question from lots of worried Mummies now, and since I know from personal experience how worrying the “car seat dilemma” can be, I really wanted to answer it on our “Ask Emma” Child Friendly Holidays Blog.

I have called on Emma Jayne Jones to talk us through taking car seats on holiday, hiring cars seats abroad and other options. Emma is a features Journalist by background, and has written for numerous publications including “The Guardian” and “The Times”. Here she shares her invaluable advice with us:

Taking Car Seats on Holiday, Hiring Car Seats Abroad, and other options!

Car seat on holiday

Take your own or hire a car seat?

For any parent, the safety of their baby is their greatest concern. So when it comes to booking a holiday abroad it is no wonder that many people worry about what they need to take. While sunscreen and sterilisers are easy to tick off the list, one of the biggest confusions can be with car seats.

Take your own car seat
The most trustworthy way to make sure your baby is safe is to take your own car seat with you. Most airlines will allow you to take a car seat or stroller for free. The only way you can guarantee that you can use it on the plane is to book a seat for your baby. However, if there is enough room most air stewards will be accommodating and find you a spare seat. If not, the car seat will need to travel in the hold with the rest of the luggage. Before taking your own car seat, make sure that it is adaptable to other cars and meets the safety requirements in the country you are travelling to.

Hire a car seat
Most car rental companies hire out car seats and you can pre-book them before you go. These should always be in good condition and conform to international safety standards – the United Nations ECE is a standardized regulation to look out for. Ring up in advance and check that they have a suitable seat available and when you arrive do not be afraid to ask for another one if you are not happy with the seat on offer.

Transfer buses and taxis
The biggest grey area when it comes to using car seats abroad is on transfer buses. Many of the big tour operators say car seats are not required or can’t be used on their buses, but this means your little one will be sitting on your lap. When we are used to diligently strapping them in for every journey, this can seem a dangerous idea.

Call your tour operator to find out their policy and if you would be able to use a car seat if you took one. It is not a legal requirement, even in the UK to use a car seat in taxis but while not necessary, you may decide you want to take one anyway.

It is up to you to decide what you feel comfortable with and it is worth taking into account how far the transfer or taxi ride will be, how often you will be making them and if you will be travelling on major highways.

Travel systems
If you baby still fits in a travel system then this can be a better alternative than just taking a stroller. It means you have the car seat if needed but as it is incorporated into the pushchair, you are not travelling with excess baggage.

Once your child has outgrown the travel system then the CARES safety harness is a good option if you are concerned about not being able to use a car seat on a transfer bus. It is designed for use on planes but slips over the back of the seat and would provide restraint in the event of a crash.

When your children are a bit older – from about 4 – then an inflatable booster seat, or convertible backpack like the Trunki BoostApak, is a great alternative.

Find more advice on travelling on Child Friendly Holidays at “Ask Emma” our Child Friendly Holidays Blog.

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