Study Finds Bringing Your Own Child Seat When Traveling May Be Best

Rental Car Child Seats Image

With the holidays quickly approaching, many families are finalizing their travel plans to visit grandparents and other relatives out of town. Before they hit the road in that rental car, however, they may want to check out a recent article from the folks at Consumer Reports.

In an article released earlier this month, the publication set out to test the child seats available for rent at a couple of large car rental agencies. What their child passenger safety technicians discovered was that the quality of the inventory was “drastically different between agencies.” For instance, at one agency the child seats were “neatly stored in clear plastic bags” and each seat included an owner’s manual.

However, at another rental company the child seats were stored in a shed in an outdoor parking lot. They were not in plastic bags and several of them were missing their owner’s manual. Additionally, many of the seats “were not suitable for use due to broken parts, missing labels, infant seat carriers separated from their bases, or they were expired.” The report also acknowledged that renting a seat – which averaged about $10 per day – may end up costing you more than a new seat should your trip last more than a few days.

Fortunately for those families flying, most airlines now allow car seats to be gate checked for free and they can often be picked up on the jet way after landing. As an added tip for travelers, Consumer Reports suggests that families planning a trip order a seat in advance and have it shipped to a friend or relative who can bring it to the airport for them to use in their rental car or install it in their own car before picking the family up after landing at the airport. Regardless of your strategy, Consumer Reports states it’s probably “best to use your own seat.”

RIT wants to know: Have you ever rented a car seat?

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