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CAR RENTAL DANGER: Dilapidated Tot Seat, Take 2

By Jackie Burrell
Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 12:15 pm in Family Travel, Health & Safety.

car seat Remember the saga of the dilapidated tot car seats? By law, every California car rental agency is required to make children’s safety seats available for rental – and most rental agencies charge $10 or so per day for them, and reap a pretty profit pretty quickly on a $60 seat. But when Delicious Baby’s Debbie Dubrow tried to rent one from the Advantage Rent-a-Car folks in San Diego last winter, every seat was falling apart, vomit-flecked or too old to comply with current safety laws. The ABC-TV folks heard about it and investigated — and the car rental agency swore it would conduct a company-wide inspection of all its car seats and fix the problem.

Now comes word from another mom who flew into L.A. recently with her 6-month-old and spent two hours sifting through Advantage’s rental car seats trying in vain to find one that could be safely installed. The one she ended up with was so old, both California state law and the manufacturer say it should have been destroyed in 2005.

So Debbie flew down to LAX to investigate and yep, in a car rental agency jammed with families with babies and small children, she could not find a single safety seat that had all its parts. They were all missing the critical base that allows one to secure the seat snugly to the car.

Now, Debbie’s trading e-mails once more with Advantage and we’re wondering, how widespread is this problem? Click “comments” and tell us, have you tried to rent a car seat too? What was your experience?

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