Carseats and Travel

Parent Q&A

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  • Baby to SFO

    (12 replies)

    We have a trip coming up and need to get our son to SFO.  We do not live by the Bart and were really hoping not to have to bring his car seat.  Does anyone have any reliable recommendations?  Thanks! 

    We have used a car service that had their own seat.  It was $100 from Oakland.  Best money I have spent in awhile as you get dropped off and picked up and don't have to worry about getting on an off of shuttles with strollers, etc.  For a 2 week trip, we would have spent more than that on a garage anyway.  We used Welcome Limo.

    There's a company called 'airport taxi cab services' where you can request a taxi with a car seat. My wife and I used them when we had to go to SFO with our daughter.

    We just flew with our daughter and used ABC Shuttle Service -- door-to-door pickup and they will put a carseat in the van for $10. I might double-check the installation though, as our driver installed it WAY too loose. For what it's worth, we brought our daughter's car seat with us (used it on the plane) and found that it was very helpful for getting her around the airport (we bought a GoGoBabyz stroller/cart which let us strap her convertible carseat in and basically treat her like an additional piece of carryon luggage ;))

    For baby' safety, they should be in a carseat while on the airplane. So just take the carseat along.

    Airport Commuter will provide a car seat.  888-876-1777   I am sure other car services will too.

    The reliable thing is to take the car seat. Depending on child's size/age you might need the car seat on the plane. It's a royal pain which is nothing compared to the pain of an injured child.  

    Get a friend with a car seat to give you a ride to bart. 

    depending where you live, lyft/uber may have the option to request a car seat.

    you could also rent a car with a carseat one-way and drop it off at the airport.

    I adore B.A.B.E.S airporter - I've been using them since my big teens were tiny babies in carseats in your situation.  The owner is a dad and knows all about carseats. He's always been on time, friendly, helpful, and always set us up with the right carseat for my sons' ages. Now carseats are not part of my life, but I still call them because they're so awesome.

    There's long term/airport parking at most Bart stations that have parking lots,$7/day. So you can leave carseat in car and just use carrier or stroller on Bart. 

    We love Juan - he operates a business out of Bernal Heights where he drives and brings a car seat if you need one. Just text him to arrange pick up at your home/wherever and then you text him again when you land at SFO for the return. Just remind him which size car seat you need. We're moving to Berkeley this weekend and thankfully he does Berkeley, as well! Juan: 415-305-0819

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Take the Car Seat to Asia?

June 2006

Hi, I am wondering what I should do when I travel with my 14mos old in Asia. If I don't purchase a plane ticket, he will not need the car seat. But what about when we arrive in China, Thailand, Malyasia, or Singapore? WE won't be driving ourselves. thanks for your input

Hi, I am not sure of other countries, but in Singapore, whether it's you driving or someone else driving, a babysit is required. However, if you are taking cab/taxi, then you don't need. Michael
I say, bring the carseat. If you don't bring it then you will need it and if you do bring it then you will be prepared. Better to be prepared than not. Think about the safety of your child --Would have been a great Girlscout
We traveled to China when my oldest son was 18 months old. We bought him a plane ticket, but did not take his carseat. There is no regulation stating that you have to put a child in a carseat if they have a seat on the plane. The space is simply good for playing, laying him down, spreading out, etc. We took cabs and had a car with a driver for our stay in China and never did we need a carseat. There is just no time to install a carseat when you're hailing a cab and they don't require it there. Just hold on to your baby and you'll be fine. Though it seems extremely dangerous, because their driving habits are quite different from ours, I have never seen a single traffic accident during our multiple visits to China. Have a great trip! Kelly
My experience with travelling in Asia (Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia) is that the cars are often older models and feel like they're falling apart...I would not want to take a taxi there, for instance, without having my son in a car seat. Also, public transportation can be somewhat limited; we relied on taxis/hired drivers a lot for transport to and from airports and for day trips. Regardless of the laws, I would bring it Nina
You may think about purchasing a sit and stroll carseat/stroller. It is a travelling carseat that has wheels to expand to a stroller. It isn't the best stroller but it sounds perfect for your trip. I'm actually selling one on craigslist. check it out if interested. It's used, but does the job. good luck
I have traveled with a two year old and I personally think you are better off without a car seat because asia gives preference and are kind to parents with children. They let board first. You need your arms free when you get on and off the plane. You need to be able to concentrate fully on your child rather than how to get the overhead bags etc plus a car seat. I say no on car seat. I am sure there are some studies that suggest in a major crash those who have their children in car seats would be better off but its essential you be able to make it on and off the planes, with your luggage. Is not easy so forget that car seat lighter the better
I have two young children and have spent extensive time in Thailand. I am pretty uptight about safety and car-seats in particular. What I've come to realize is that car-seats are pretty much impractical in Thailand unless you have your own car or are hiring the same car w/ the same driver every day. Taxis do not have seat belts, hotel shuttle vans often don't have seat belts or have funky seat belts, even a car for hire may have funky seat-belts. If you do decide to bring your car-seat, make sure you know how to do a seat-belt install. Cars in Thailand do not have Latch. (Well, actually the Toyota Wish car does, but I haven't seen any others with it.) Also, must seat-belts are ELR only and your car-seat must have built in lock offs or you must use a locking clip. (Please read your manual and practice first - you don't want to be fuddling with a car-seat in tropical heat and crazy traffic.) Honestly though, I think you'll find that the car-seat stays in your hotel room. Risking it in Bangkok
Not sure if this will work, but can you buy one of those really small booster seats (seat only, no back) meant for older kids? Perhaps using that with a seat-belt (when the car you are in has belts) would be better than nothing, and wouldn't be much for you to carry around. You could check it for your flights, and they might be quick to throw down in a cab or car (throw it down, put your kid on it and fasten the seat belt over your kid). Just a thought... Anon

Booster Seat for trip to Europe?

Dec 1999

We will be traveling to Europe this spring with our daughter who will then be 5 y/o. For some reason I had been thinking that we could take this trip without schlepping a car seat but I am now anxiously rethinking that assumption. She is currently 43 1/2 tall and 42 lbs. and we recently began using the car seat/shoulder belt with her high-back booster seat but the idea of lugging it with us is really oppressive. I have seen the backless boosters and they seem infitnitely more portable. Does anyone have any experience with them. Are they AS safe? What to do about the shoulder belt?

What is to stop the booster from sliding out from under the child in the event of an accident or sudden stop? Any recommendations for brands/purchasing locales?? Any advice on how to deal with the issue of car safety with a young child in this 'in- between size' while traveling?? Thanks in advance for all replies!

We were in a car accident with a seat-only (no back) booster seat. IT was the kind with an arm that folded over the lap. The shoulder belt then held the seat and arm in place, and gave some shoulder protection. My child was 4 at the time. HIs younger sister was in a regular car seat. The driver (not me!) fell asleep, and the car rolled over at freeway speeds. My daughter was completely uninjured as was her car seat. My son had a large bump on his head, where his head hit the window. The booster seat was completely twisted out of shape, and unusable afterwards. I'm sure the booster seat saved my son's life, but we put him back in a large standard car seat until he totally outgrew it at 5 (and he went willingly). When our younger son was ready for a booster seat, we got the one that has a back, too. Fortunately, we never crash tested that one!
I've traveled about 6 times with my son to Texas and Minnesota - these trips last about 3.5 hours since I always book the non-stop direct flights because my son is sometimes very active and squirmy (always has been).

Most recently I traveled alone with him. I took my fanny pack (with valuables), a backpack for diapers, toys, etc, a lightweight stroller that I checked at the plane door and his booster style Century One-Step carseat (I sling it over my shoulder by one of the straps - it's not elegant, but it works just fine). My son (who is an active 2 year old) stayed in the carseat for about 3 hours and toward the very end he got restless and I let him stand up in it for awhile and crawl in my lap - but soon we were descending and I strapped him in again. I was relieved that he didn't put up a fuss about being in the carseat.

However, when my husband has traveled with us, he sits in the middle seat instead of the window seat and seems to get more restless about the carseat. I think the window seat was more secure and had more plane noise to lull him to sleep.

Also, now that he can understand my request that he stay in his carseat, it's easier. And finally, I had to fight my own urge to let him out in order to hold him. It was best for my son not to let him out of the carseat so he got used to it. Good luck and have a great trip!

To booster carseat in Europe. I used the backless kind this summer with my daughter who is as tall but skinnier than your child. I felt she was much safer than with a regular seatbelt, but less safe than a regular carseat. The seat does slip out into weird positions, In fact once it kind of lay down and she slept lying down in the car but still strapped in...not sure about the safety implications of that!! As to taxis-in Europe many taxis dont have any working seatbelts at all so you just need to hold the kid in your lap and hope for the best. (The seatbelts are there but still tucked inside and by the time you even begin to pull it out you have reached your destination.) We usually rent a car from Hertz with our triple A discount before we leave and get excellent rates (rates once in europe are outrageous), we take her car seat (or you can reserve one but don't count on it being there) and that way she is always strapped in. (Parking and driving in the cities can be a nightmare though-London parking rates are outrageous for example-much better to only get the car when you will be going out into the country/towns). Also, a booster seat isn't that expensive, you could just use the portable/ backless till you get there (from the airport) and pick up the booster at any big store there to use during your trip. (What's 30 bucks or so to feel safe?).

Taking a carseat on a trip to Greece

July 2001

We will be traveling in Greece for 2 weeks this summer. Although we don't anticipate spending much time in cars I think we need to bring a car seat for our 20 month old daughter. She weighs approx. 28 lbs. We are desperately trying to pack lightly so any ideas/alternatives are welcome. Phyllis

We travel with our 2 year old at least once a month and we have since she was 6 weeks old. I recommend getting the Sit N Stroll Car Seat Stroller ... (see the full review on the Sit N Stroll page).
We own a Sit N Stroll ... It is easy to strap into cars and the airplane ... (see the full review on the Sit N Stroll page).
We recently returned from three weeks in Greece with our 27-mo-old. We brought her Century car seat to use on the airplane and in various cars (friends' and rental). We also took several taxis, none of which even had seat belts in the back seat, so I wouldn't recommend dragging around a car seat if that is the only form of auto transport you'll be using. The rental agency we used on the island of Santorini had car seats available but I don't know if that's common. We saw many kids being held on laps in cars, and we almost always received strange looks when we insisted in going through the car seat ritual. Janet
Also see recommendations for Stroller/Backpack combinations