Is renting a carseat from a car rental agency safe?

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It depends on the rental car agency. We've rented without complaint at Hertz and Avis, but when we used a discounter the seats were old, unsafe and dirty. Many seats were broken and heavily soiled. I've posted pictures and the full story on my website at Advantage Rent-A-Car's Frightening Car Seats My story ended up getting picked up by two local ABC news affiliates who found a number of violations and confonted the company with the issues! If you do want to rent a car seat, here are some tips:
  • Call ahead to the specific office you will be renting a car seat from and verify that they have new, well maintained car seats available for your date of travel.
  • Make sure that the seat is installed snugly and that the latch or seatbelt is threaded through the proper channels
  • Find the individual "birth date" of the seat. It should be on a computer printed label stuck to the side or back of the seat. Don't use a seat that is older than 5 years.
  • Check the seat carefully for evidence of cracking, twisting, worn harness webbing or broken buckles. Once you have latched the buckles, pull hard to make sure that they do not detach. If there is any visible damage, do not use the seat
  • Consider renting from a baby rentals company (They can also deliver a crib and other items you might need) as they stake their entire reputation on delivering safe, clean items for babies.
If you are on site at the airport and find that your rental car agency has unsafe car seats, it is easy to walk to another agency and ask them whether they'll honor the rate for your reservation (if they have extra cars, they are likely to). If you're off site, it's harder to walk away, but never take the risk of putting your child in a car without a properly functioning car seat. Debbie ------------------------------------------------------------------ Instead of renting at seat it is better to bring your own. If you are flying, it's safest for your child to ride in his/her carseat on the plane. Do not check your seat, you've seen what happens to your luggage, it can damage or stress your carseat and that can cause it to fail in a crash. Use it on the plane instead. Go to youtube and search for seconds from disaster: carseat. You'll see one with a flight attendent. It's a good reminder why you want to put your child in a seat!

Jen E. CPS Technician.
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