Anyone rent a car seat from rent a car place? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone ever rented a car seat from a rent a car place? We're going on a very short trip (leaving midafternoon Saturday and returning early morning Monday). Instead of taking a taxi to the airport, we're going to take public transportation (it will save us money and get us there quickly). Because of this we don't want to lug our car seat with it. We figured it's easier to use their car seat instead of lugging ours with us.

Has anyone had good or bad experiences doing this? We are packing light except for extra clothes for DD and this seems like a stress free way of making sure she is safe but not overloading ourselves down while traveling.
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#2 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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I'm sure you'll get some responses, but in general it seems LOTS of people have had TERRIBLE experiences doing this. Sometimes they don't actually have a seat once you get there, sometimes the seats they have are old/expired/disgustingly dirty. Often they don't have instructions. Sometimes it's an inappropriate seat for your child (ie booster for an infant, too small of a seat for a toddler). Even if the seat looks fine, there's no way to know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has been cleaned inappropriately (soaking straps, for example, can cause them to fail in an accident). I'd find another option, personally. For two adults and one child, it should be pretty easy to carry a lightweight seat. If you need ideas about transporting the seat, let us know the details (are you flying? How old/tall/heavy is your child?) and lots of people have great ideas for carseat transportation.

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#3 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure you'll get some responses, but in general it seems LOTS of people have had TERRIBLE experiences doing this. Sometimes they don't actually have a seat once you get there, sometimes the seats they have are old/expired/disgustingly dirty. Often they don't have instructions. Sometimes it's an inappropriate seat for your child (ie booster for an infant, too small of a seat for a toddler). Even if the seat looks fine, there's no way to know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has been cleaned inappropriately (soaking straps, for example, can cause them to fail in an accident). I'd find another option, personally. For two adults and one child, it should be pretty easy to carry a lightweight seat. If you need ideas about transporting the seat, let us know the details (are you flying? How old/tall/heavy is your child?) and lots of people have great ideas for carseat transportation.
Thanks for the quick response. We're flying. We can always have a relative drive us to the airport and take the car seat or take a taxi if we need to. I thought the rent a car car seat issue would be great but based on what you've said it sounds like a horrible idea. Because it's a short flight (from NY to NC) and small plane the airline told us we can't gate check the car seat only check it in and we were trying to avoid that since we usually don't check our luggage. Gate checking the seat is what we did last year. The soaking straps thing is just gross and the thought of getting a seat like that is more gross. I'd rather just suck up checking the car seat than risk getting a dud at the rent a car place. DD is 33 1/2 inches long and 26 lbs.
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#4 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Can she sit in the seat on the plane? I wouldn't check a car seat either. You never know how they might damage it, even inf you can't tell.

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#5 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can she sit in the seat on the plane? I wouldn't check a car seat either. You never know how they might damage it, even inf you can't tell.
She's sitting on my lap on the plane. I called the rent a car place. They told me they use the Evenflo Tribute V and that the seat covers are removed and cleaned after each use (if they weren't I'm sure they wouldn't say that. LOL). They have an instruction manual and the young lady I spoke to told me that their location rarely gets requests to use car seats. She said they have a ton. I'll ask DH what he thinks when he gets home.
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#6 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:38 PM
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I have done it twice, with good results both times. The car seat was clean and seemd to be in good condition and not too old. I was also told that they rarely get requests for them, and that they have many - so I guess if you decide to go this route, you could request a differnet one if they give you a dirty one.

I am sure there are reasons it is not as ideal as taking your own - I feel that car seats are probably frequently installed wrong when they are moved a lot. We rarely move ours, and when we have it installed we take it to the police station for them to do it. However, it would be such a pain to lug a car seat for every trip I take with DS (I travel for work a lot, and take him with me - and hire a babysitter in the hotel).

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#7 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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I work for a car rental agency and I wouldn't count on it.

FYI, because you reserved one does not mean one will be there. The same with GPS's.

As for safety of the seat, trust me they would not KNOWINGLY send a bad one out. The problem lays in Knowingly. There is a lot of liability with the car seats.

Check into Baby's Away, they rent carseats in some areas.
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#8 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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We just did that over Christmas... we got a BRAND new carseat, still in plastic with all tags, manual, etc. Took us forever to install the thing because it wasn't our seat and it was all wrapped up like new ones are, but we had zero problems with it and LOVED just leaving it in the car when we dropped off the rental. FWIW, we did this for a 3.5yo, so we used CARES on the plane, and her carseats are massive and friggin' heavy to lug around the airport (we don't bring a stroller).

If we were travelling with a bucket seat, I'm not sure if we'd rent or bring, honestly.

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#9 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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Absolutely do NOT rent a car seat from anywhere. It's very dangerous. You do not personally know the history of the seat, and the rental place could lie to you. Not only could the rental place lie to you, but the previous renters could lie to you as well. You can't guarantee the safety of the seats, like you can your own. Just because it looks ok to the eye, does not mean that it is ok. I strongly urge you to not rent one. Perhaps you could have your family on the other end of your trip spend $50 on a Cosco Scenera and have it there for you when you arrive. You can pay them back for it when you get there, or send them the money ahead of time.

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#10 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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We did this once when DD was 10 months and will never do it again. The seat was there, but it was old, dirty, and very hard to install in the car we'd rented. DD was terribly uncomfortable in it, and we didn't even really know if it was safely installed. I had to hold her head in a certain position so she could fall asleep; that's how bad it was. And it wasn't cheap either.

So when we flew again with 2 year old DD over the holidays, we lugged our ginormous Britax Marathon with us, and it really wasn't that bad. We bought a carrier for it that has backpack straps on it, so it was actually very easy to carry to the luggage check-in. We installed it in my mom's car at the airport and that was it. Very easy since we already knew how it worked, and DD liked having her familiar seat to ride in.

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#11 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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I have tried it twice. Will never again. Awful awful awful. No latch straps, filthy, worn straps, only a 3pt harness in the infant bucket (a year ago)... Nightmare.
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#12 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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We have done it twice. Once we got what appeared to be a brand new seat (in Philadelphia) and once we got a brand new seat in the box (in Italy). We had to rent one in Italy as ours could not be used in the EU. Both times we installed or helped install it ourselves (not sure if that's what was supposed to happen, but we were glad to do it).
If you are worried about them having the right one there for you when you arrive, you could make the reservation and call ahead before you leave.
Anything could happen, and you could drive yourself batty with worrying about horrid possibilities, but that's just going a bit far IMO.
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#13 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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How much is it going to cost? If you're going to visit family or friends, could you ask one of them to pick you up a Cosco Scenera? It's about $50 at most places and it's a good seat that might end up costing you less than the one for your short trip. And this one you could either leave there or bring back with you for a backup.

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#14 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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We've done this once and received 2 brand new car seats. We were in the Twin Cities, can't remember the company. No problems at all. As nice as ours at home, no, but perfectly safe and brand new! Good luck!
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#15 of 36 Old 01-26-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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I would never ever rent one, too risky.

But if you do, be sure to ask about expiration dates, and ask if they ever clean the straps, and if they do, HOW they clean the straps. If they use bleach (I know they do at a rental place here), or any other cleaning solvent OR if they wash them in water, that is bad and I wouldnt risk it. Scary!
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#16 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 07:51 AM
 
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We rented from Enterprise and it was fine. We called ahead and they told us the model (cosco senera), price, availability, etc. We flew into Irvine and there, all the rental car companies share a pool of 20 car seats. It was not a brand new seat but it was fine. We were only there for a few days and DD was totally fine in it. It was super cheap, too, I think it was $10 or $20 for the whole time we were there (4 days). We will definitely will rent again and forego lugging our big carseat through aiports, or buying a brand new seat for a few days use! I think if you say you cannot rent carseat because you don't trust it, it's kinda same as saying you cannot rent cars cuz you don't know the history or whatever. Would you drive across in your own car then? KWIM?

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#17 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 08:52 AM
 
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That comparison doesn't make sense to me. It's highly unlikely that the rental car place soaks the car seatbelts in bleach to clean them, and cars don't tend to suddenly fail because they've been in an accident. Cars don't expire. I don't chew on the seats of a car. Rental car places tend to actually HAVE a car available when you rent one (not necessarily so with a carseat). If the car they give you isn't the size that you requested, it is probably not a safety issue.

Car seats require more specific care and more specific sizing than cars. I don't care what kind of car I drive and I'm fine with one that has been in an accident. However, I won't put my kid in a seat that doesn't properly fit her, or that might have been damaged by accidents, or bleach. Cars don't tend to have invisible damage that would cause them to suddenly fail catastrophically in an accident.

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#18 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 09:50 AM
 
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We've rented them twice. Both times been fine.
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#19 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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Thats actually not true, 1st the NHTSA now does not recommend replacing for every accident so carseats are not necesarily as fragile as once thought. Also cars can have hidden damage from accidents and a seatbelt that was used in an accident should be replaced after an accident and noone volunteers that info to you (just like insurance companies dont volunteer to replace your carseat). So a car thats been in an accident can be risky too.

I would have to imagine that with the liability involved that most reputable car places would be a bit more cautious with their carseats.

Of course that said I wouldnt do it. Not only for all the reasons listed but b/c I would never let my child be a lap child on a plane so I would already have a carseat. Everyone is talking about the risk of a used carseat while people are sitting here like a lap child is OK. Another reason is not all carseats fit well in all cars. If a rental company has multiple cars but not multiple brands of carseats I would not feel comfortable unless I knew they had a carseat that typically was pretty universal. Or if I knew the carseat and car I would have ahead of time (and my dh travels a lot for work and never gets a specific car though whoever said they might not have GPS, he has NEVER gotten there and them not had it). The other reason being is you can get a new Cosco carseat (and they do fit pretty well in most cars) so cheaply it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend that same money on renting something unless maybe it was only for 1 day.

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That comparison doesn't make sense to me. It's highly unlikely that the rental car place soaks the car seatbelts in bleach to clean them, and cars don't tend to suddenly fail because they've been in an accident. Cars don't expire. I don't chew on the seats of a car. Rental car places tend to actually HAVE a car available when you rent one (not necessarily so with a carseat). If the car they give you isn't the size that you requested, it is probably not a safety issue.

Car seats require more specific care and more specific sizing than cars. I don't care what kind of car I drive and I'm fine with one that has been in an accident. However, I won't put my kid in a seat that doesn't properly fit her, or that might have been damaged by accidents, or bleach. Cars don't tend to have invisible damage that would cause them to suddenly fail catastrophically in an accident.
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#20 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Once - and I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do it again! And I work in the industry.

I knew how it worked. I knew they have a certain number of seats and the on-line reservations for car seats don't necessarily get to the branch. I knew they don't really inventory the seats and if you are the last one there and they are gone, you are SOL. I called the branch directly when I made the reservation to say I would need a car seat. Then I called the day before and asked how many reservations they had and if any car seats were reserved. They assured me they had tons of them.

When I got there, the seats were in some kind of shed that leaked and most were moldy. The car was not latch equipped (this was a few years ago and I went cheap) and there was no "bite lock" to keep the seat belt from moving. The woman had no idea what I was talking about. I swore I would NEVER do it again.

Now, I will say that I went cheapest route and not a higher end company, but I won't do it again.

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#21 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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We tried once, and it was a horrid experience. DD needed a rear facing seat, but they only had an infant seat (that she was far too heavy for). They eventually located one for us (they went out and bought one), but that was only after hours waiting with a very tired, cranky, unhappy baby. We will never do that again!
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#22 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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Not by choice, airline misplaced our carseat, and we had to rent. In a word-GROSS.

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#23 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I'd never do that. You can't be 100% sure it's a safe seat that has been taken good care of and not been in an accident or anything else dangerous.
I wouldn't check a seat either, they throw them around. I's take my own seat in the plane, or get my relatives pick up a good, cheap one that could live with them as a extra seat.

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#24 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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Thats actually not true, 1st the NHTSA now does not recommend replacing for every accident so carseats are not necesarily as fragile as once thought. Also cars can have hidden damage from accidents and a seatbelt that was used in an accident should be replaced after an accident and noone volunteers that info to you (just like insurance companies dont volunteer to replace your carseat). So a car thats been in an accident can be risky too.

I would have to imagine that with the liability involved that most reputable car places would be a bit more cautious with their carseats.

Of course that said I wouldnt do it. Not only for all the reasons listed but b/c I would never let my child be a lap child on a plane so I would already have a carseat. Everyone is talking about the risk of a used carseat while people are sitting here like a lap child is OK. Another reason is not all carseats fit well in all cars. If a rental company has multiple cars but not multiple brands of carseats I would not feel comfortable unless I knew they had a carseat that typically was pretty universal. Or if I knew the carseat and car I would have ahead of time (and my dh travels a lot for work and never gets a specific car though whoever said they might not have GPS, he has NEVER gotten there and them not had it). The other reason being is you can get a new Cosco carseat (and they do fit pretty well in most cars) so cheaply it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend that same money on renting something unless maybe it was only for 1 day.
I agree with most of this post.

I did want to point out that very few manufacturers follow NHTSA's guidelines for carseat replacement (which haven't had any recent updates of which I'm aware). The vast majority of manufacturers say to replace their seats after any crash.
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#25 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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When I did this, they showed up with an old dirty infant seat for my big one year old.

Stupidly, we had the rental delivered to us. When I complained, I was told tough cookies. What they had was what they had. I had to take my son in my lap in the car. FTM and stupid. Never again!

For fun, while renting a car, I popped my head in where they kept the rental. Scary! Major company too.

Also, recently my dh's cousin visited. I reminded him to be sure to bring their own seats and the scoffed at me. "We do it all the time". Wow, the seats they had their children... Perhaps they just have low standards when it comes to safety. Again, major company.

Btw, I drive in France with an American car seat. I once installed it into a police car. We've taken it to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, etc. and it's not been a problem. No one gives a toss here in Europe. Go ahead and use your car seats on the plane and rent a car with them. Also, FYI, higher harnessed and erfing seats are not widely available. When the child gets to 40lbs/18 kilos, you are expected to put him or her in a booster. The EU wont test harnesses past that weight.
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#26 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thats actually not true, 1st the NHTSA now does not recommend replacing for every accident so carseats are not necesarily as fragile as once thought. Also cars can have hidden damage from accidents and a seatbelt that was used in an accident should be replaced after an accident and noone volunteers that info to you (just like insurance companies dont volunteer to replace your carseat). So a car thats been in an accident can be risky too.

I would have to imagine that with the liability involved that most reputable car places would be a bit more cautious with their carseats.

Of course that said I wouldnt do it. Not only for all the reasons listed but b/c I would never let my child be a lap child on a plane so I would already have a carseat. Everyone is talking about the risk of a used carseat while people are sitting here like a lap child is OK. Another reason is not all carseats fit well in all cars. If a rental company has multiple cars but not multiple brands of carseats I would not feel comfortable unless I knew they had a carseat that typically was pretty universal. Or if I knew the carseat and car I would have ahead of time (and my dh travels a lot for work and never gets a specific car though whoever said they might not have GPS, he has NEVER gotten there and them not had it). The other reason being is you can get a new Cosco carseat (and they do fit pretty well in most cars) so cheaply it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend that same money on renting something unless maybe it was only for 1 day.
I'm sure people haven't commented on our letting DD sit on my lap because I didn't ask for an opinion about that. I personally don't have an issue with DD sitting on my lap. We've done it before and we're fine with it. You aren't for your child. Your child, your choice! My child, my choice
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#27 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Flying, is, in general FAR safer than driving. I'm much more comfortable with a child unrestrained in an airplane than poorly restrained (in an inappropriate seat) in a car. Auto accidents are the #1 killer of children in the US. The odds of a child being severely injured in an airplane are ridiculously low, and it is a major hardship for us to buy a seat for an infant who won't use it anyhow. It's not a big deal for me to carry a seat through the airport (on a luggage cart,on my back, on a stroller, on a rolling suitcase....) So, I'm willing to take the small risk of my child riding in my lap because the benefit (financial) is very great. I'm not willing to take the far larger risk of my child riding in an unknown-history carseat, especially since the benefit (avoiding carrying a carseat) is very small. To me.

My child rode as a lap child for several flights, and I'm ok with the risk. She's ridden in rental cars (in her OWN carseat!) several times. I would never rent a carseat. That's my assessment of the risks.

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#28 of 36 Old 01-27-2010, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TheGirls View Post
Flying, is, in general FAR safer than driving. I'm much more comfortable with a child unrestrained in an airplane than poorly restrained (in an inappropriate seat) in a car. Auto accidents are the #1 killer of children in the US. The odds of a child being severely injured in an airplane are ridiculously low, and it is a major hardship for us to buy a seat for an infant who won't use it anyhow. It's not a big deal for me to carry a seat through the airport (on a luggage cart,on my back, on a stroller, on a rolling suitcase....) So, I'm willing to take the small risk of my child riding in my lap because the benefit (financial) is very great. I'm not willing to take the far larger risk of my child riding in an unknown-history carseat, especially since the benefit (avoiding carrying a carseat) is very small. To me.

My child rode as a lap child for several flights, and I'm ok with the risk. She's ridden in rental cars (in her OWN carseat!) several times. I would never rent a carseat. That's my assessment of the risks.
Well said and a very helpful post. Thank you and to everyone else who has responded
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#29 of 36 Old 01-31-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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Don't do it! Dh works for a rental company and they are completely clueless Their seats are likely to be expired and there is absolutely no process for ensuring that the seats are maintained.
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#30 of 36 Old 02-05-2010, 06:57 PM
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I agree with the poster of the previous page that said to check into a place like Baby's Away. Although, I say rent from a locally-owned business and not a national one.
I own a baby gear rental business and rent car seats to people traveling to my area. All car seats are properly cleaned and are very new.
Have fun on your travels!
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