Car Seat for Rental Cars

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Take base for infant seat?

June 2004

I am traveling to see family next week. My five-month old daughter and I will fly, then pick up a rental car. Friends have said it is ok to simply strap her rear facing car seat in to the belt in back. I am wondering if I should lug along the base as well (which to be honest I don't know that I could install!) I am wondering what others have done. Alameda mom

There is no need to take the base. Just secure the seat with the car's seat belt. A lap belt only seat belt works best (like on the plane), but if you need to put it where there is a shoulder belt then secure the seat with both the lap part and the shoulder part so it doesn't move or get loose. another Alameda mom (who travels too much)

Infant car seats are specifically designed so that you can use them without the base -- if you look, there should be slots to feed the belt through, and perhaps even instructions on how to do it. The base is just a convenience factor, because it's a bit time consuming to install the carseat itself without the base; many parents like to carry the carseat with the sleeping child, and don't want to continually have to reinstall the carseat, every time they move their child. Karen

The answer to this question must be in your car seat's instruction manual. It will tell you if it the seat can be used both with and without the base, as well as how to install it correctly. If you have lost the manual, they have to send you a replacement for free. Check the manufacturer's website or 800 number. They may also be able to answer the question directly, but you really should have the instruction manual on hand. R.K.

If this is family you'll see often, you can have them buy or borrow a car seat. My parents borrowed one that isn't great in terms of size, ease of use, etc. but it's fine for this purpose. Otherwise, it is just fine to strap the car seat in the back seat. We do it all the time when we rent a car or go in a friend's car. Of course it's safer to use the base but who's going to lug that around??? npaykel

Just bring the car seat, no base. You can safely strap it directly into the car with the seat belt. Simple packing mama

We traveled a lot with our infant and would strap her into cars without the base. The instructions that came with our seat stated that the seat could be used with or without the base. I would check your instructions also. You just need to make sure the seat is in tight. Have fun! jennifer