Rental cars are basically cars you can take temporary ownership of for a specified period and for an agreed fee. It is a great deal for people and families, especially tourists who need to get around in their new destination.
In getting the perfect rental car, there are many concerns, especially when it is an entire family with kids. One of such concerns is the availability of child car seats. Child car seats are typically for children aged 12 and below, and they serve to protect kids during a crash.
If you are traveling with family and you’d need a rental car with car seats, this article tells you all you need to know about that. Let’s move.
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Do Car Rental Companies Charge Extra for Car Seats for Kids?
If you are going to have a car seat for kids attached to your rental car, then you’ll likely be paying extra fees for that. Rental companies charge between $10-$15 daily for car seats/boosters, including tax. It could even be more depending on the number of kids you have.
Also, you should know that these fees will accumulate depending on how long you will rent the car for.
How Do You Get the Car Seats Included for Free?
Consumer Reports estimates that the average daily fee for a rental car seat is $13. Going for a week-long vacation with multiple kids might raise concerns of cost running into hundreds of bucks just for the car seats. And we must say, that’s an understandable concern.
However, there are ways to get a car seat included in your rental car for free.
One way to do that is paying in advance for your rental car, concluding the deal and requesting a car seat after pickup. In this case, the companies will likely just hand you a free car seat to save themselves paperwork stress. This is, however, more likely if it’s just one car seat you need.
Also, some rental agencies like SilverCar offer free car seats in their rental vehicles, and all you have to do is request a day before. However, the car seats aren’t always available, so you can only get one if they have it. Some rental car companies also offer free child car seats for infants aged 2 and below.
So, getting car seats for free depends on your choice company, availability of the car seats, and just sheer luck.
What Types of Car Seats Do Rental Cars Have for Kids?
There are different car seat types for infants, toddlers, and much older children. Rental agencies with car seat packages often have all the types, and some only have the ones for infants and toddlers. Below is the range of car seats for kids available in rental cars:
- 1-year-olds and younger (20-22 pounds): Convertible seats and rear-facing car seats
- 1-3-year-olds (24-40 pounds): Rear-facing car seats
- 4-7-year-olds (4’9 or close): Forward-facing car seats
- 8-12-year-olds (taller than 4’9): Booster seats with shoulder and lap latches
The specifications above are in accordance with the U.S. Government and NHTSA regulations. So, if you are looking to add a car seat to your rental car package, make sure whichever one you get is appropriate for your kid(s).
Do Rental Cars Have Isofix?
Isofix refers to an international safety standard dealing with latch points for child safety seats in vehicles. Stylized as LATCH in the U.S., Isofix is a fruit of efforts to guarantee the safety of children during travels.
Here is a good list of 21 electric cars with isofix ready for 3 car seats.
The system mandates certain attachment points to be included during car manufacturing to make child car seats more secure. You have a lone attachment at the top and double attachments at the bottom of either side of the seats.
All new cars produced in the U.S. from 2002 have an ISOFIX system, otherwise known as LATCH. So, unless you are renting a pre-2002 vehicle, any rental car you get should have ISOFIX.
However, we recommend checking for these ISOFIX points, as they make car seat attachments a lot easier.
Can You Rent a Car Seat for Kids Without Renting a Car?
You can absolutely rent a car seat separately without having to rent a car alongside. In other words, you don’t need a rental car package before you can rent a car seat for kids.
Some rental companies with baby equipment have a ton of car seats you can rent. One of such companies is BabyQuip, a baby gear company with a variety of travel equipment for children, including child car seats.
If you rent a car seat from baby gear companies, you are looking at about $5 daily for boosters and $13 daily for convertible seats. While that’s not so far from what car rental agencies charge, you also get access to other baby travel necessaries like strollers and the likes.
Also, if you rent car seats from baby gear companies, you might be better off. This is because car rental agencies often have no expertise when it comes to child car seats. For instance, we have caught a whiff of cases where car rentals added boosters instead of convertibles to the detriment of ignorant renters.
If you get your car seats from a baby gear company, the chances of that happening are very low. This is because they are often experts and will dish out expert counsel concerning the best choice of car seats for any situation.
Ultimately, renting car seats from baby gear companies is a much safer choice. However, if you decide to let your rental agency handle your car seat needs, be 100% positive that they know their onions before signing off.
Are Rental Car Seats Safe?
Getting car seats for your kids is proof that you prioritize their safety, which is great. The car seats will help improve your kid’s chances in the “God Forbid” event of a crash. However, car seats, like many other equipment, can get damaged or worn out, which would ultimately make them useless.
Truth is, if you are not so familiar with how car seats work, you are likely to fall into this trap, especially if you got the seats from a car rental. This is because car rental companies aren’t experts in that area, and lots of things could go wrong and unnoticed.
This is why we recommend trying out baby gear companies. These companies have experts and will make sure everything bordering on attaching your child’s car seats goes perfectly. You also are not likely to face availability problems when you get your child car seat from a baby gear company.
On the whole, rental car seats are safe and are very important if you have kids traveling/touring with you. To make them even safer, make sure the safety checks and installation are handled by experts, preferably baby gear brands.