Posts Tagged ‘ LATCH system ’

Why Are Car Seat Rentals Such Junk?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Is it too difficult for rental car companies to provide decent car seats to your kids? Apparently so.

We recently went to New Orleans to visit my Aunt Nancy, known to the tots as “Baba Yaga.” Baba lives on the bayou and is a self-proclaimed woman of the swamp. Naturally we did all the things one would do in swamp setting. We caught a wild turtle…

 …saw wildly huge grasshoppers, went on a wildlife safari, taught Fia how to hold a fishing pole, went on boat rides, and swam in the hot tub.

The biggest challenge was to keep both kids from killing Baba’s birds. She has two lovebirds. They are gay. Peepers is friendly though only has one claw due to a stroke (during a hurricane) that rendered the other one useless. His partner, Peg, is bitter. And mean. He has a peg-leg. I’d probably be bitter too.  Fia was obsessed with holding Peepers. Emmett was obsessed with grabbing Peepers from Fia. Feathers, tears and screams–both from babies and beasts–were a simultaneous occurrence.

In short, it was our normal trip to Louisiana.

Except for the car seats.

Rather than lugging ours, we decided to rent from the car company. We were also flying home late and figured by renting we wouldn’t have to reinstall ours in a dark parking lot with cranky kids upon our return.

But the problem is, despite paying a fee to rent car seats, they are absolute junk. I’ve found this no matter what company we rent from. This time it was Dollar. They had none in their inventory that had the LATCH system. How long has the LATCH system been around? Oh, well, since before 2002. All their rental cars had latches/anchors in them. Just not car seats to go with them. Which leads me to believe their filthy, flimsy car seats are more than a decade old. We kept trading in different ones until we had gone through all 5 of their “inventory.” All were equally horrible, some even missing the straps that hold your kid in. It took us over an hour to install the seats and even then, they weren’t secure.

The thing is, when you call to rent a car and tell them you want car seats, they won’t tell you if they have ones from the Ice Age or up-to-date models. Car companies remain completely vague about what their inventory is and at least every company I called on the phone refuses to commit. I started searching websites.

I came across this one that talks about which car companies offer what. Ironically, it lists Dollar in the top echelon, saying, “Not only does Dollar Rent A Car have car seats and booster seats at all of its locations, but some models of the Dodge Caravans rented there come with built-in child safety seats.” 

Um, sure, they have child seats at all their locations and are happy to charge you for them. But what condition are they in? That is the question.

We travel a decent amount. I need decent car seats. Surely there is a company that does this right.

In the meantime, we flew back from Louisiana, leaving Peg and Peepers–and perhaps a Yak or two–breathing signs of relief.

At the airport, we grabbed our luggage and climbed into our car, grateful that our car seats were already installed but wondering if perhaps it’s worth the hassle to just bring our own next time.

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