Is Renting a Car Seat a Safe Idea for Families on the Go?
Why is it that small children need such big stuff, especially when traveling?
It’s not just the collection of clothes, diapers, toys, bottles, and snacks that’s burdensome when traveling by plane and automobile–it’s all of that plus the car seat. Yes, the wonderful life-protecting, yet super-bulky apparatus that responsible parents would never even consider traveling without is, well, a pain to travel with.
So, to save time, energy, and sanity points, is it better to rent a car seat from the car rental company? Or should parents just grin and bear the burden of being human pack mules and bring their own?
According to Parenting.com writer and member of a frequent flyer family, Matt Villano, the better choice is to BYOB (bring your own booster or car seat).
For his family, Villano said it comes down to three areas of concern–safety, convenience, and cost.
In terms of safety, Villano defers to the judgment of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who warns parents from purchasing or using a used car seat because it is impossible to know without a shadow of a doubt if that car seat was involved in a crash or accident. Just because it looks fine, does not mean it is fine or safe.
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Renting a car seat means paying for something you already own. It could be a little or a lot depending on the car rental company, so to save on additional fees, Villano chooses not to spend.
Villano admits that lugging the car seat through the airport is an added chore, but since most airlines allow parents to check a car seat per kid for free, it’s worth the extra effort and peace of mind to travel with his kids’ car seats.