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Renting car seats

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Our family is travelling to Seattle in hte beginning of May to visit some friends. We are flying to Portland, though and spending a night on our way there and one on our way back somewhere along the way. We will have to rent a car and at least one car seat. I don't know now to go about renting a car seat, though. I've been checking car rental websites and can't seem to find any info. Do you rent them through the car rental agencies? Do most major ones have them?
post #2 of 18
I've only heard bad bad things about renting car seats. I'd take yours with you.

-Angela
post #3 of 18
You can rent them from the car rental company, but I've had a bad experience doing so and ended up buying a seat to get us by.
post #4 of 18
Well... I rented a carseat once, when DD was 10mos old. I reserved a carseat in advance. When I got to the rental place at the airport, they showed me to a closet filled with carseats, and told me to take my pick.

They were all inexpensive seats (Graco, I think?), the kind you'd find at Walmart or Target.

I asked the car guy for help installing it and he had NO clue whatsoever. Of course, since I was unfamiliar with the seat as well I wasn't much good either. He kinda shrugged it off so I made a fuss until somebody else that either knew more about the carseats (or was a good faker) came out to help me. I was never really convinced it was installed properly, though.

I was traveling alone with DD and hadn't wanted to deal with the hassle of checking my carseat (I already had a lot of stuff to haul) but in the future I'm going to take the extra trouble to bring my own.
post #5 of 18
We rented a carseat (which we had reserved AND called about to ask if it was a "safe infant seat") from the Oakland airport last summer. Not only did they not have a clue about how to install them, THE SEAT WAS FIVE YEARS EXPIRED! And when we called to complain/ get a new seat, we were told that car seats don't expire (huh, then why does it have an expiration date on the bottom?"). We called and talked to various managers before *finally* being OKed to replace the seat with a new one and get reimbursed. I was livid. Absolutely and utterly livid.

DO NOT RENT A CARSEAT. Bring your own from home!
post #6 of 18
from my previous reading, a carseat does not count toward a baggage allowance. so you can still check in your two bags per each person, still carry on your one carry on and one personal item per person, check in a carseat and gate check a stroller and they shouldn't charge you extra.

of course, i recommened you do your own research with your airline before you travel just to avoid any surprises.

i ditto the take your own seat(s).

~claudia
post #7 of 18
Whenever we travel we rent carseats and have never had a problem... they cost extra so that is an issue, but we pick up the car... install the seat ourselves and that's it.. no problems

N
post #8 of 18
To clarify my previous post: there was not a SINGLE carseat at any of the rental agencies in Oakland airport that was not expired. The manager who finally cleared us to buy a replacement car seat checked. Every single one was out of date, often by at least 5 years!

(At that airport, all the rental agencies share car seats.)

And yes, we were paying extra for the "privilige" of putting our son in a seat that would likely not have made it through an impact. I could have exploded in rage when I figured that out. Of course, I was 4 months postpartum at the time, but still... I'm pretty sickened by the cavalier attitude I encountered at the rental agency!
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexisyael View Post
I'm pretty sickened by the cavalier attitude I encountered at the rental agency!
cavalier is *exactly* the right word for it. The rental agency I was at (forget the rental company but it was at LAX) couldn't have cared LESS about the carseat installation being safe. In fact, they looked at me like I was some kind of lunatic...
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay. Glad to see all of these posts. At first I was wary of renting a car seat and then I heard bad things about checking my own car seat... Pick the worst of two evils, I guess. Definitely can't afford to buy two car seats when we get there. We have a seat for our four year old, but not our 19 month old (no lectures please). I'm wondering if we could use a car seat for our 4 year old. He is only 35 lbs on a good day. Does weight or age matter? That way we could bring at least one seat without worrying about it getting thrown around and damaged...
post #11 of 18
If you can, I'd ask around to see if you know anyone who's rented from that agency at that airport, and what their experience was.

We rented carseats at Dulles when we flew from Seattle to DC, and while they weren't Britax, they were clean, less than a year old, had the direction booklet attached. My husband had to install them, but it was no biggie as he had the manual, both car and carseats had LATCH and tether anchors. He even had a 'helper' who helped him find the anchor and other stuff.

I think this will really depend agency to agency. Obviously the place we chose had a manager/owner that was on top of things as far as that goes. I would NOT be suprised at all if that was a rarity, though.
post #12 of 18
We rented a carseat from a car rental place, and it was outdated and unsafe. I would've felt safer strapping my 2-year-old in with the seat belt alone. I don't really understand your scenario (you only own one carseat?), but you can NOT count on renting a decent seat.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by srain View Post
We rented a carseat from a car rental place, and it was outdated and unsafe. I would've felt safer strapping my 2-year-old in with the seat belt alone. I don't really understand your scenario (you only own one carseat?), but you can NOT count on renting a decent seat.
Nope. I own two car seats. I could only possibly use one on the plane, though, and I'm wary of checking the other car seat (or both of them). That may be the way that we go, though.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by marieangela View Post
Nope. I own two car seats. I could only possibly use one on the plane, though, and I'm wary of checking the other car seat (or both of them). That may be the way that we go, though.
Lots of people have reported good luck with gate checking seats.

-Angela
post #15 of 18
You can gate check your seats, and they will be fine. Done it myself. They take it from you when you board, and it's waiting at the door when you get off.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equuskia View Post
You can gate check your seats, and they will be fine. Done it myself. They take it from you when you board, and it's waiting at the door when you get off.
:

They tend to be real careful with them too. At least they were with ours.
post #17 of 18
I'm sorry, but what is so much worse about checking a car seat than checking any other luggage? If you are concerned about damage just bubble wrap it and stuff it in a big duffel bag -- it would only take five minutes to do that once you got to the airport.
post #18 of 18
We rented two at the San Jose airport last summer and they were OLD. Like, the kind I used when I babysat in the late 90s. I didn't want to check my seat either because it cost $275 and they way they throw them around when loading them on and off the plane can't be good. They each had a paid seat and I wanted to bring their seats on but there was no way I could get two young kids, three carry-ons and two carseats on the plane alone. I wouldn't rent again unless I confirmed and was absolutely positive the seats were new, but probably not even then because they were really dirty - we took the covers off and washed them as soon as we got to our destination. I'd much rather buy the cheapest WM seat to bring than use a rental seat, but most likely I'll just bring their seats next time.
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