Monday's post on Z Recommends talks about car seat rentals with Advantage Rent-a-car, and the unclean, unsafe seats they have been found to offer their customers. Reading the post made me so mad, because it brought up memories of a horrible experience we had with a car seat rental.
After our experience and reading the comments from other readers of the post, I strongly urge you to always bring your child's car seat when you travel. Don't rely on rental companies to keep your kids safe!
Here's our story:
We had a very bad experience with renting a car seat at Hertz, and I hope we never have to rent a car seat again. We now have a Radian folding car seat that we bring with us when we travel.
We flew into Hamilton, Ontario and drove into Toronto last summer. We rented a car from Hertz because of a recommendation by CAA and the promise of having an infant seat provided at no charge and having it installed by "special trained personnel". In addition to the installation, CAA touts the "safety, security and convenience", and says that "Hertz field personnel have been extensively trained on the proper installation, cleaning and inspection of the car seats and will install the seats in the vehicle".
HA!!!! Our experience contradicted all of that!
We reserved our infant seat weeks ahead of time, and when we picked up the rental, we were given a car seat to install ourselves. The employee wouldn't install it for us, and she didn't have an instruction manual. My husband mentioned to the clerk that their website said that the seat would be installed by trained personnel. She said that she had taken the course for installation but said she wanted nothing to do with it. She said that she didn't want to end up in court if we got in an accident!
She (and Hertz corporate, when we later contacted them) said that they would be changing the website information shortly, but they still haven't changed their policies.
And even worse than all of that, the seat was FILTHY. I've never seen a car seat so dirty. There was rust all over the bottom of the seat and some in the car base as well. Who knows how damaged it was! We didn't feel safe using the seat for our baby, so we asked for a replacement, and were told that there were no other car seats. The employee also refused to call another location to reserve a seat for us to pick up.
Thankfully, when we drove to the Toronto airport location the next day, they gave us a brand new car seat with an instruction manual (which we again had to install ourselves), but that didn't make up for the inexcusable service and condition of the original car seat, which we had to use, driving for an hour on Canada's busiest highway!
My advice: BRING YOUR OWN CAR SEAT WHEN YOU TRAVEL.
I've been quoted on BlogHer! Read more car seat horror stories on Mir Kamin's post: Think twice before renting a car seat for your child.
I also posed the question: What about taxis?
And check out 2 posts from the woman who started the blogs buzzing about this topic:
Danger for Rent: Car Rental Agency Puts Infant At Risk. She took photos of the damaged seat she received. I wish we had thought to take photos of the seat Hertz gave us!
Safety Tips for Renting a Car Seat
Oh my goodness, the summer has been a whirlwind! Lazy days with no plans have been interspersed with traveling and many family events, and it's hard to believe it's almost August already!
A few highlights:
- Claire is becoming quite the traveler. She's losing her shyness (well, the burst-into-tears shyness, she still has the I'm-going-to-hide-behind-Mummy's-legs shyness), and she's getting quite used to sleeping in a playpen in various locations.
- I was a bridesmaid in my cousin Tara's wedding in Newfoundland earlier this month. It was beautiful, and we all had a good time. The photographer had us trekking up steep rocky hills (he's obviously never had to do that in in high heels!) but the photographs should be amazing. I can't wait to see them! It made Hubby and I think of our wedding (almost 4 years ago, wow!), and how much fun we had having so many people we love together in one spot. We had a fantastic photographer too, and you can see some of our photos on his website.
- Our Newfoundland trip was crazy busy. I love visiting, but I'd love to have some downtime on our trips, and actually do some sightseeing. Little Miss was sick for a few days while we were gone too, so that was tough. Poor thing!
- Our vegetable garden is growing like crazy, and we have already had a crop of broccoli and lettuce. Peas, green beans, carrots, squash, tomatoes, peppers and sweet potato are on the way! Mmmmmm.......
- We finally put a clothesline outside. Sheets are drying in the wind as I type.
- My friend Nancy and I took our little girls strawberry picking a few weeks ago. I think the picture speaks for itself:
I hope you're enjoying your summer, too!
Hubby and I have been using disposable diapers on Claire since she was born, but we keep tossing around the idea of trying cloth diapers. Mainly, it's the "ick factor" and the fact that we can't keep up with our current load of laundry that has kept us with disposables.
We alternate between Huggies and Seventh Generation, which we buy on trips to Maine (they're almost double the price in Fredericton!). When Hubby went on a camping trip in Maine this past weekend, he came home with a couple of boxes of gDiapers to try out.
gDiapers are a pretty great idea. They have the comfort and look of cloth diapers, but are almost as convenient as disposables. The (cute!) cloth pants have a flushable absorbent liner inside, so, provided you don't have a finicky toilet, you need not have a smelly diaper pail!
We started using them this afternoon, and the first two went pretty well! They were easy to use, and the first one flushed well. The second one had a minor clog, but I think that was my fault. No leaks so far, even with a dirty diaper, and so far I'm impressed! We'll see how it goes from here on in. We may need to make a trip to Maine to get some more!