We were in France 12 years ago and all of the rental cars were TINY--which was fine because it was just the two of us. The car brands were all completely unfamiliar to us (also not a big deal back then).
This year, dh is taking my small 7yo to Italy (up into the mountains East of Rome) and ds is still in a carseat (a Britax Regent). We're wondering what the carseat laws are and, regardless of the laws, what car you would suggest to fit a 7yo in the backseat--preferably with his carseat? We've done a ton of air travel in the last year and bringing his seat is a complete PITA, but we'd really rather. :/
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If your son is shorter than 135cm, then he should be in a car seat or booster by law. Do you know if your car seat is EU compliant? Honestly, though, I doubt that would be an issue in Italy, as so few parents actually put their kids in seats and no one does anything about it. (I've even seen completely unrestrained toddlers in the front passenger seat! More times than I can count.) Over here, they also switch to boosters very early, so I'm having a hard time imagining how large your seat is, just because I've never seen one for a child past 4 years of age, if that. I think something like a Citroen Picasso might work, my BIL has one and it's pretty roomy. Another option would be the monovolumi (minivans.) Fiat Multipla is an example, it's pretty roomy. Might be harder to park, though.
Hope that helps.
Just remembered something. It's probably something you already know because you've traveled a lot, but just in case you don't: many European carriers will not let you use a car seat in flight. I don't know if that's what your dh intended to do, or if he was just going to check it in. Anyway, Alitalia will not allow it and I am pretty sure British Airways won't either. I've heard of this from a quite a few people using several different carriers. If your dh and ds will be flying a European carrier, look into their policies re carseats.
Yeah, ds' carseat is pretty big. It accommodates a child up to 80lbs and is a PITA getting through security. We don't use it on the plane, but they're flying American Airlines. Regardless, I think it's wider than a traditional airplane seat. We've never put either of the kids (7yo & 2yo) in a seat on the plane--we check them at the gate.
Thanks for the ideas on which cars. I don't know if my seat is EU compliant. It's a Britax and I'm thinking it would be, but I'll have to check.
Do the cars there have LATCH system? And tether anchors? Because if not and we're relegated to a seatbelt alone to attach it, then we'll be fine with a booster.
I had to do some research on LATCH because all I knew about it was that it's called Isofix over here and our cars are too old to have it. It only works with car seats up to Group 1, at least that's what I understood from reading this. Isofit is the system for larger seats, but looks like it just uses the 3-point car seat belt. So I don't get why it's called a system, ykwim? I wasn't sure how authoritative wikipedia was on car seat info, so I googled isofit, and found this on the Britax site, which seems to confirm that the larger seats (Group 2/3) are just held in place with the seat belt.