We are planning a trip to England this summer, would like some sage advice from the gurus here re: best car seats to bring.
Currently have 2 Graco Nautilus, 1 Britax Marathon, 1 Britax Roundabout.
Kids are 5 and 3, both FF. 3 year old is near to outgrowing the Roundabout, but will likely still fit by the time we are set to leave.
We will be renting a VW Golf, 4 door.
Be aware that is illegal to use a foreign car seat in most countries (even between Canada and the US technically). That said, if they are both FF then it shouldn't matter too much what you take - probably the cheapest ones (Graco) in case they get wrecked. You're using them on the flight, not checking them, right?
Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)
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It is illegal for residents to use foreign seats. Most countries make allowances for visitors: they don't expect people to buy new seats for a two-week vacation. In general, if you are licensed in a country you need to use that country's seats. If you are visiting, you're probably fine. Military bases have special rules.
Single WAH mama to a fourteen-year-old girl.
UK law does not make allowances for foreign visitors. However, if it is just for a short visit you are unlikely to have any problems assuming that the seats will install correctly into whatever vehicle you will be driving.
Q: Can I use a seat from another country in the UK? A: Any child seat used in the UK must conform to the standard ECE R44.03 or R44.04, which is usually denoted with the letter E in a circle and a number (the number indicates the country in which the seat was tested and approved - the UK is 11). European Standard The standard applies Europe-wide and therefore European manufactured seats will be an 'appropriate' restraint within the meaning of our laws and can be sold and used in the UK. Always check that they fit your vehicle and child. It is unlikely that seats from the States or Australasia will meet ECE R44.03 or R44.04, and the method of fixing seats into vehicles can differ between countries. Child restraints that do not meet these standards cannot be used in the UK.
Bring an extra metal belt clip or two. None of the European cars I've put my kids into have the ratcheting seat belts that we have here (we've driven a Range Rover, the Citroen, an ancient Renault named Betsy and a Peugeot 9-seater van).
I don't know if your eldest is perhaps ready to use a Ride Safer Travel Vest? We had those for our two oldest on our last trip to Europe. They are tricky to get on each time, but they fit in a carry-on and take up very little space in the car....just the space the child takes up. Can't use them in the plane, though.
We brought 2 Britax Marathons when we moved here. No one has said anything though I will check if they meet the above. The only time we got any grief was on the KLM/Delta flight here. They eventually let us use them, but dithered about checking on it for a while.
Thanks everyone for your replies, links, and advice! I wasn't planning on bringing the seats on the plane, I was going to check them with special baggage. We have multiple connections and the thought of taking them around connecting airports along with small kids and carry-on seems daunting. One of the legs is a redeye and I remember how uncomfortable it was to be right up next to a car seat on a short hop to LAX, mom needs some sleep too :)
The vest sounds cool, I looked into and, but I am from Canada and they are not certified here :(
I'm not comfortable having my kids in boosters yet, I want them to have a 5 point belt esp. when we don't know the roads or drivers very well, not to mention the other side of the road. And not keen on getting a seat from the car rental agency.
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