It’s a decision that all parents traveling with young children must make—should you bring your child’s car seat along for the trip or is it worth it to rent one with the rental car company?
It can be a particularly difficult choice if you’re going to be staying at your destination for several days, as the costs of renting a car seat can build up quickly. Fortunately for AAA members, the use of one child or infant booster seat is free when renting with Hertz.
In addition to not having to lug a bulky car seat around the airport, here are a few reasons why you might want to consider renting a child safety seat for your next trip.
Renting a Car Seat is Easy and Safe
Most car rental companies offer a variety of options when it comes to securing the right seat to keep your child safe. Hertz provides a wide range of child safety seats at all of their rental car locations, voluntarily complying with state laws that require a child seat for rentals.
They offer an infant child seat, which is for a baby who is less than one year old and weighs up to 20 pounds. They also stock forward-facing child seats, for children weighing between 20-40 pounds. Additionally, they carry belt-positioning, high-back booster seats and strollers.
Beyond being assured that Hertz will have the right car seat for your child, you are able to avoid the additional stress of having to navigate airports with a heavy, awkward car seat. Some car seats weigh more than 25 pounds, which is a lot of extra luggage to be dragging around an airport, especially if you have a little one in tow. Avoiding this hassle is one of the top reasons most people decide to rent one.
A Lighter Load
According to U.S.A. Today, “All U.S. airlines and most international airlines will let you take a car seat with you for free, either as checked baggage or as a gate check item.” However, by renting one, you can avoid having to determine if your child’s car seat is safe for use during the flight.
If you’re unsure, you’ll need to check that it is FAA-approved. Even then, you’ll have to follow up with the airline to determine the seat dimensions of the aircraft you will be taking and then check that against the size of your child’s seat.
If it won’t fit, then you face a different kind of problem—the potential of it being damaged as it bumps along with the rest of the luggage being tossed into the belly of the plane.
Other Things to Consider
One of the first concerns many people have when it comes to renting a car seat is the additional cost. Coming in at as much as $15 a day, the cost of a rental car seat can add up if you’re planning on staying in town for a while. Thankfully, most major car rental companies set a cap of $60 or $70 on a car seat rental. Unless, of course, you are a AAA member.
It’s important to rent a car seat from a reputable agency to avoid the risk of ending up with a seat that has not been well maintained and does not include instructions on how to safely and securely install it in the rental car.
However, by relying on rental companies with stellar reputations, you can rest assured that child car seats that are no longer safe to be used are retired from the fleet and that those that are in use will be supplied with a user manual and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after every rental.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using previously owned car seats because there’s no way to know if the seat has been in a serious accident, which is fair. However, as long as you stick to reputable car rental companies, such as Hertz, you won’t run the risk of the seat being used after it was in a serious accident that could hamper its ability to protect your child.
Some people worry that the car rental companies don’t have enough car seats and that there won’t be one for them when they arrive. However, Hertz spokeswoman Paula Rivera explained to Today, “The daily rental fee pays for a national inventory across all our locations of many more seats than are necessary to meet the demand.”
Despite everything, for a germaphobe, no amount of disinfectant can erase the “icky” feeling they have about renting a car seat for their child. However, it’s probably good to remember that the rest of the seats in the car have also been rented out before.
When it comes down to it, renting a car seat for your child simplifies your life, removes stress from your travels and still ensures the safety of the most precious cargo in your vehicle.