The Usual Car Seat Rental Suspects

This post offers a review of major car rental companies and how they approach car seat safety.

Methodology (this is how the review was conducted):

  • The review included 7 major car rental companies, in alphabetical order: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty
  • Avis and Budget are part of one AvisBudget Group and have nearly identical statements on their UK websites with regards to car seat rentals
  • UK sites for each company were visited and searched for car seat related information. A Google search was also made for ‘[car rental brand name] + car seat’ and ‘[car rental brand name] + child restraint’
  • To give you an idea of car seat rental prices we conducted an additional analysis. Prices for hiring car seats were reviewed by selecting the same date, time and pickup locations for each company (one week in November in two UK cities, one location in Spain, one location in France and one location in Germany). As a result, prices are given below as a range but are not representative of the entire offering of the seven reviewed car rental companies.

Summary of findings:

  • NO car rental company provides a complete list of the car seats they rent out
  • NO car rental company provides installation manuals for car seats available for hire
  • NO car rental company has a dedicated car seat rental policy of any sort
  • ALL car rental companies apply a maximum charge for hiring a car seat so no extra charge is applied beyond a certain amount
  • Enterprise has the highest maximum charge for car seat rental (see table below for details)
  • Overall, Enterprise is the bottom performer with no information concerning car seats available online and the highest average per day price for hiring a car seat
  • Avis, Budget and Europcar provide most detailed information on the car seats they rent out, however Europcar has a high maximum charge (see table below)
  • There is no uniform car seat rental price given by any of the car rental companies. Instead, car seat hire prices vary by location, date of rental and by car rental company.

Car Seat Jungle has also compiled material from the car rental companies under review. This is provided below for easy reference.

Alamo:

Alamo offers child restraint systems that conform to government standards at an additional per day charge. Child seats vary by country. (Please see International Travel: Child Safety Seats for exceptions)

Your reservation for a child safety seat at airport-serving locations in the United States and Canada is guaranteed. See your reservation for applicable rates.

Child booster seats are featured in some locations but in limited quantities. Remember; you can inquire with your airline about bringing your personal child booster seat or child safety seat from home.

It is the renter’s responsibility to properly install and fasten a child safety or child booster seat.

Child Safety Seats: Alamo offers 5-point convertible seats that can be rear-facing or reclining for infants up to 30 pounds or forward-facing for toddlers 20 - 40 pounds.

Seat Features: 5-point harness with two-piece harness retainer and front harness lock. Large labeled seatbelt paths with locking clips. Upholstered with either vinyl or cloth, based on availability.“


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Car Seat Jungle comment: Why is it so difficult to know what car seat brands and models are available? Why are no specialised infant car seats available?

Avis/Budget:

Avis stocks a range of quality baby, infant and child seats to fit the younger members of your family. Simply request the seats you need at the time of booking.

UK law demands that anyone under 12 years’ old, or under 135cm in height (approx. 4ft 5ins), must use an appropriate child restraint.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more details on child seat laws in the UK.

Reserve a seat online during the online reservation process. Once you’ve selected your vehicle group, you’ll be asked to “Choose your extras”. Scroll down to the “Child seats” box and add one or more to your booking. Alternatively, request one via our reservations hotline or add one to an existing booking by calling Avis direct.

If you are unsure which child seat would be the best fit, take a look at the specifications below.


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There’s no substitute for safety, especially when you’re transporting children. Each time you reserve a Budget rental car, be sure to request a safety seat for each child travelling with you. To reserve a child safety seat, simply select the appropriate size during the online reservation process, or speak to our call centre agents.

It is required by UK law that any child under 12 years old or under 135cm in height (approx 4ft 5ins) must use an appropriate child restraint - Please ask your Budget representative to help make sure the correct child seat is fitted.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more details on child seat laws in the UK.

We have selected 4 key questions to keep the information simple and succinct. We understand car rental can be difficult and it’s our goal to change this by making all our products and services transparent for our customers.


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Car Seat Jungle comment: Probably the most advanced. Also a Which? Winner 2018

A detailed list of features for each of the car seat groups is provided. We learn that Avis stocks Britax car seats and that the baby seats can fit onto CLICK & GO™ pushchairs. Also useful to know is that all car seats are through seat belt installation so no ISOFIX.

Enterprise:

Under Car Rental FAQs:

ADDITIONAL CAR RENTAL EQUIPMENT
Most Enterprise Airport Locations offer the following equipment at an additional per day charge:

  • Child Seats
  • GPS/Navigational Systems
  • Ski Racks

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Car Seat Jungle comment: If that’s all that Enterprise have to say about hiring car seats, you should be cautious.

Europcar:

Even though the majority of our seats are listed below*, we do occasionally supply other seats from local autocentres that then become part of the stock. These are all safety and quality checked as normal.


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Car Seat Jungle comment: What is a ‘normal’ check? Also, it’s quite unclear how up to date the list of car seats is.

Hertz:

It’s important that your child has the safest journey possible. Hertz offers a range of child safety seats that are suitable for babies and children. To add a child seat to your reservation, please book online or for support with this process, please contact the Internet Helpdesk on +44(0)20 7026 0077.

To view the regulations governing the use of child car seats, please visit:

Please note: Availability and costs vary by location. Legal requirements for child car seat use may vary by country. Child seats may not be suitable for all vehicles. If you require further information, please contact reservations or your local branch. (source)

Hertz offers child safety seats that are suitable for babies and children of the following weights:

  • 0-13kg
  • 9-25kg

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Car Seat Jungle comment: Thank you Hertz for giving me the possibility to rent a car seat which might not fit the car I’m renting (as per the ‘child seats may not be suitable for all vehicles’ sentence).

Also, if my child is over 25kgs I won’t be able to hire a car seat? UK law requires all children up to 135cm to use a car seat. In reality, most kids are heavier than 25 kg well before they hit 135cm (see the below growth charts for reference).

Thrifty:

UK law states that all children up to 135cm tall, and up to the age of 12 years (whichever comes first) travelling in the front or rear seats of a car or van must travel in the correct child seat for their weight.

Child car seat information

Rent a baby, toddler or booster seat from Thrifty

  • Birth 4 years
  • 9 months - 11 years
  • Booster seat 4 -11 years

All seats £5.00 per day (max 10 days charged)

Please note: Baby seats are subject to local availability. Please contact your local Thrifty office to confirm availability before you arrive.


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Car Seat Jungle comment: availability should be guaranteed at the time of booking so we are unsure why an additional confirmation needs to be made by the customer.