Car Rentals: Child Safety Not Included
Author: Family Travel Forum StaffTags : Baby, Health, Insurance & Safety, North America, Road Trip
One would think that at any car rental agency, child seats would be available without much fuss. Think again.
According to Consumer Reports, a number of the major agencies won’t unconditionally guarantee child seat availability. Rates can also change depending on location, and some car rentals don't have a policy for a maximum rental charge.
CarSeat Rental Policy at Top Rental Car Agencies
Here's what we found to help you make an informed decision about your next carseat rental.
Alamo (800/GO-ALAMO) will guarantee a carseat with your rental in the US and Canada at airport locations, but they are subject to availability outside the US. Average rates are $9.99 per day for each carseat with a maximum $60 charge per rental per month.
Avis Rent-A-Car (800/331-1212) Please ask for a seat when you make your reservations. Seats are available for both infants and toddlers at most U.S. Avis locations. Rates vary by location, but are generally $13 per day, per seat, with a $65 maximum charge per rental.
Budget Rent-A-Car (800/527-0700) guarantees a seat at corporate-owned franchises. Rates vary by location, and average at $13 per day, with a $65 maximum.
Dollar Rent-a-Car (800/800-3665) offers child safety seats at most locations. Average prices start at $12 per seat, per day and a maximum fee varies depending on location and duration of your rental.
Hertz (800/654-3001) Child seats are available at all U.S. locations for $12 per day with an $84 maximum fee.
National Car Rental ( 800/CAR-RENT) guarantees child seats and requires that children under the age of 5 years ride in a federally approved seat. Rates vary, but average $9 per day.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car (800/261-7331) seats are available at most airport locations, but you must contact the specific location to make a request. Prices vary.
Thrifty Car Rental (800/847-4389) Seats are available at most airport locations for $12 per day.
Bottom line: when making rental car plans, inquire specifically about child seat availability and get a guarantee with your confirmation number. Ask about their policies on cleanliness and safety before booking.
And don't be afraid to ask for the manual if the carseat design is unfamiliar to you.