January 1, 2008

Email question about carseats overseas in taxis and rental cars...

Christy from Virginia wants to know more about dealing with the carseat issue in taxis and cars in foreign countries- "Do taxis have carseats? " "How do you know which countries have which requirements?" "What about rental cars?"

Safety is always the most important factor for all parents, and to be safe when traveling with a little tot often takes planning. As we travel around the world, we have decided to haul our carseat with us and use it when we can.

There are countries, like Sweden that have strict rules about car seats. Many of the taxis do have carseats in their taxis, but they are not required to carry them, so if you do not have your own, you will have to wait for a taxi that has one (and even then, they are often more like booster seats), and often drivers in Sweden won't let you in without one. London also has taxis with carseats but it best to call for those taxis in advance. However, other countries like Spain, don't worry as much about the carseat issue. Although the occasional taxi will have a carseat, most don't. In other countries, such as Thailand and China, cars may not even have seatbelts in the backseats which makes the car seat installation impossible. So you just have to do your best and assess the area you are going to. A lot of places will be shocked that you even have a carseat. For our family our rule is, if we have the carseat with us and we can fit it, then we use it. If the car rides are longer than 15-20 minutes, we try and make a plan so the carseat can be used. That doesn't always work but it gives us a basis to start from.

Rental cars are often a great way to go. You can put your carseat in and leave it, you know that it fits from the beginning, and most major rental companies have car seats available for a small fee. Always make sure to check ahead of time, but we have found this to be a good option for us.

The carseat thing can be tricky. I think the best thing to bring is your street smarts- if you cant use a carseat, try to pick a safe driver, etc. etc. I have seen comments that you should not put seatbelts around the parent and child as this can be very dangerous. I have been told that it is best to put them in the Baby Bjorn and then put the seatbelt just around the parent. I have also seen portable carseats and seatbelt extensions available for sale. Of course none of this is recommended as the liability is too high- but

Do you have information about carseats overseas that you want to share, or other questions concerning this topic, send an email to babyjetsetter@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post.

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