Car Seats Abroad: Tips & Information On Taking A Car Seat On Holiday
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Taking car seats abroad is often a point of discussion for not only considering their use on airplanes – but also deciding whether to take on holiday. There are several things to consider when doing so – this guide will help you decide whether you can take your car seat or if it may be more convenient to hire one. (For specific information on using your car seat on an airplane, please see here)
Can I take my car seat for free?
If you are travelling by air, most airlines will allow you to bring your car seats for free and it will not count as going towards your baggage allowance. (However, unless you have an infant and have purchased a seat, you cannot use the car seat on the airplane.) Your car seat will go into the hold of the airplane and often will be checked in at the oversize counter. You may want to consider having it wrapped or put into a padded bag to help protect it.
Can I only take my car seat if I have an infant?
You can take your car seat for any child that requires one. If you intend to use it on the plane- it must fit and meet the airlines requirements.
Is my car seat suitable for use overseas?
This very much depends on your car seat and your hire car. Many newer car seats are now ISOFIX or ISOFIT ( also known as LATCH and UAS)- to increase safety. Some ISOFIX models are not suitable for use with the normal 3 point harness seat belt method. They MUST only be secured to the ISOFIX/ISOFIT points in the car. You will need to check with the hire car company if your hire car has ISOFIX points if you are intending to take this type of car seat.
Some car seat models can work dual purpose and can also be used in cars that don’t have ISOFIX points, as they have retractable attachments. They can attach by using the normal 3 point seat belt.
Countries like Australia, also have a tether strap attached to Australian made car seats which attach to a tether point on the car (for additional security). It is a legal requirement that the tether strap be used – so a UK, EU, USA car seat would not be suitable for use over there.
If your car seat doesn’t have ISOFIX then it will work with a 3 point seat belt. Always check the child seat legalities of the country you are travelling to first.
If you have an ISOFIX base and a car seat that slots into it- you will again to check with your manufacturer if the car seat can be attached to the hire car using the 3 point harness only, or if you need to take the base with you.
What are the pros of taking my own car seat?
Your child will be familiar with it plus you will know how to install it. You will know that it hasn’t been in an accident and how safe it is. Often the standard of car seats overseas is not as high and just meet basic regulations. Some countries do not legally require car seats to be used at all! If you decide to buy a travel one, first look at the level of safety. The Which? Guides online provide a useful starting point. Also check if it is legally allowed in the country you are travelling too as mentioned above.
What are the negatives of taking my own car seat?
They are bulky to transport and lug around.
Do I need a car seat in a taxi?
This is a personal preference – whilst legally you don’t require a car seat for a taxi, it can be unpractical having to carry one around with you wherever you go. You may want to consider a travel booster for these times. Check with your tour operator if the coach can fit a car seat. Official London Black Cabs now have 1 child seat belt which is adjustable in the centre of their cabs.
Many now have the Mifold travel Car seat which adjusts the seatbelt to fit a child. The Mifold Grab And Go is a very light and compact travel car seat which works by adjusting the size of a normal seatbelt to make it fit a child. It’s for children aged 4 and up and easily fits into a tote bag. It’s available to buy internationally and convenient for when you can’t use your normal booster seat.
For more information on the Mifold and to see how it works click here.
I want to hire a car seat at my destination. What should I ask?
Ask if they can send you a picture or make and model of the car seat. Ask if you need to fit it or if they have a designated car seat fitter. We have experienced after a long, night flight, no one would assist in helping us fit the car seat due to insurance and liability reasons.
Other options for using a car seat on holiday
Look into buying a car seat and having it delivered to your hotel, villa etc. If you have any family and friends at your destination you could always have it delivered to them too. There are many parents groups online and of course eBay or even Amazon. Official advice is not to buy a secondhand one in case it has been in an accident, so if you purchase one, check it over thoroughly before use.
What companies do you recommend for the best car seats abroad?
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