Child car seatI think we probably all have driving safety at the front of our minds with the treacherous road conditions we’ve been having. And when there are children in the car being safe becomes even more crucial. I saw my sister-in-law and her children the other week, and it reminded me about the law change last autumn relating to children’s car seats. With the new rules my sister-in-law has had to get a booster seat for her eldest, as he’s under 12 and hasn’t quite reached 135cm (4ft 5in) tall, and the law now says he shouldn’t just use an adult belt.

Before September 2006 only babies and children under three had to have a special car seat, but the new UK law means that anyone under 12 (with certain exceptions, such as height) needs some kind of child restraint or booster. The government’s road safety site explains it all (if you find the table slightly baffling, most questions are answered in the FAQ). It’s something to bear in mind when you are renting in the UK – at Avis, we made sure we had sufficient stocks of child seats well in advance of the change.

The law change is to help protect children better if they are involved in a collision. Normal seat belts are designed to fit an adult across the strongest areas of the body (shoulders and hips), but they catch a child in exactly the wrong place. They don’t always hold a child in properly in an accident and, worryingly, can even cause injuries.

I’m glad to say that at Avis UK we offer high-quality baby and child seats that you can book along with your car, with most costing £23.50 including VAT per rental. At present I’m afraid we can’t absolutely guarantee that we will have the exact seat in stock (we’re looking into that at the moment), but over 99 per cent of requests are fulfilled. We’ve also reduced the price of our booster seats from £23.50 to £5.88 per rental as we knew there would be a lot more demand. Otherwise, you are welcome to bring your own.

You can select a child seat or booster when you book your car online, and do contact us if you need advice.

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36 Responses to “The new rules about child seats”

  1. Matt Daley Says:

    I’m trying to book car hire in France in August. The booster seats are priced the same as full child seats, at £23.86. Is this a mistake? Should they be £5.88 as stated in the blog? Can you please clarify and help me book them at a sensible price. I could buy new ones for less than that. Thanks, Matt.

  2. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    The price of £5.88 stated on the blog is for rentals in the UK and you are correct, booster seats are priced at £23.86 in France – our pricing varies according to the conditions in each country. While we are not in a position to influence the price of booster seats in the France, we will certainly pass your feedback on to the team there.

  3. Kate Hanbury-Hughes Says:

    I am wanting to book a holiday in the south of France next year and need 3 child seats. Can you guarantee that if I hire them from you, they have never previously been in an accident?

    Many thanks.

  4. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Kate,

    Sorry for the late response. We wanted to liase with our colleagues in France first to make sure we got the right response to you.

    I appreciate your concerns. Our child seats are bought and replaced regularly and I can assure you that they are checked thoroughly if they are involved in accident. However, this could mean that a child seat is available for rent if it was used in a car that was involved in an accident but was not damaged itself. I must stress that we would never allow a child seat to go out on rent which might compromise you or your child’s safety which we believe is absolutely paramount. We also welcome you to examine the child seat yourself and change it for an alternative if you felt it was not satisfactory.

    I welcome any feedback you might have on this policy.

  5. Nicola Bradley Says:

    Can you guarantee that the car seat has been checked to make sure it fits the car that is rented as alot of car seats dont fit all vehicles.

  6. Peter Greenough- Head of Customer Support, Avis UK Says:

    Thanks for the feedback. Avis use Britax to ensure a high quality product is provided at all times. The seats are designed to be universal in their fitting capability. However, there will be some vehicles which they do not fit. We would encourage our station teams to manage this at a local level and, with the variety of fleet we have available, they should always be able to provide you with a vehicle where the fitting of a child seat is not a problem. I would be very interested in any specific feedback where people have had problems so that I could feedback to our fleet team.

    Regards
    Peter

  7. Richard Chapman Says:

    I’m looking to book a 7 seater van in the USA but I’m not sure what the rules are on boosters seats, can you offer some advise please?
    Thanks, Richard.

  8. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Richard, sorry for the late reply – I needed to check with our colleagues in the US! The law varies by state but in general, children under 40 lbs need to be in a restraint. In the New York, for example, children under 3 require either an infant seat, child seat or booster seat depending on the age and weight of the child; over 4 years need to be in a seat belt. If you let me know the specific state you are renting in then I will find out the precise answer for you.

    Rob

  9. Richard Chapman Says:

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for the info, we are going to florida next year and the kids will be aged 7 & 10. If needed I take it I can book the booster seats when I book the van on-line.

    Richard.

  10. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Right, we’ve spoken to our colleagues in the US who have confirmed to us the child seat rules for Florida. They are as follows…
    - An infant of weight between 2-20 lbs (2.27-9.07 kilos) requires a child infant seat
    - An infant/toddler who weighs 20-40 lbs (9.07-18.16 kilos) requires a child safety seat
    - Finally a child who weighs 40-80 lbs (18.16-36.32 kilos) requires a child booster seat.

    I think that answers your question but let me know if you have any more.

    Have a great trip to Florida Richard!

    Rob

  11. Adrian Forbes-Black Says:

    Hi,

    My family & I will be renting an Audi A4 Avant 1.9 TDI from your LHR location next week & I was wondering if you could confirm if the car is fitted with LATCH/ISOFIX on any of the back seats?

    Thanks!

    Ade

  12. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Ade, I’m told by my collegues who have the privilege of driving our A4 Avant that yes, it does come fitted with this.

    Have a great rental next week!

    Rob

  13. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi,

    My family & I will be renting an Standard plus (auto) from your Gatwick location next week. When I check my confirmation print out, the car type i.e. whether “auto” or “manual” is not shown. But I sure that I have booked the “auto”. Please confirm with me a.s.a.p. Thanks.

    Jacqueline

  14. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Jacqueline,

    Could you email your reservation number to comments@avis.co.uk and we’ll double check this for you?

    Rob

  15. Ailsa Says:

    Please would you indicate for all cars whether they have the latch/isofix system and if so how many. Remember that many people have more than one child & they often bring their own seats from US.

  16. Xavier Vallée, Head of Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Thanks for the comment. At this current time, approximately 90% to 95% of our vehicles are fitted with the Isofix system for car seats. I will pass your comment to our fleet and web development teams so we can try to display this information for our customers on the website.

  17. Phil Says:

    I was glad to find this post. This is obviously something that a lot of parents are concerned about.

    I’m renting from LGW in May, coming over from the US. We’ll have to bring our 10 month old’s car seat with us (he has to sit in it on the airplane) and I wanted to ask if the ISOFIX system (that I know is fitted in the A4 we have booked) is the same as the ‘latch’ system we have in the US?

    I know it’s an odd question, but I’ll feel a lot better about getting his seat into the car knowing the systems are compatible!!!

    Thanks,
    Phil.

  18. Stephen Spiers - Customer Services, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Phil,

    In answer to your question, ISOFOX and LATCH are the same system. You can find more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISOFIX.

    Hope this helps and have a great trip.

    Stephen

  19. Andrew Says:

    We are coming over from the US to LGW in May and have two 20 month olds. Will cars seats be availabile at the airport if we order them with our reservation? Or should we plan on bringing our US car seats with us?

  20. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Andrew, yes we will have child seats available but not only that, we’ll have launched our new Baby On Board service in Gatwick by then. You can read more about our initial trial at Heathrow by going to this blog post: http://wetryharder.co.uk/?p=244.

    Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Rob

  21. Andrew Says:

    This post is a follow-up to my earlier post about cars seats at Gatwick airport. We rented a car from Gatwick and were surprised to find there was no Baby on Board service, as expected. Worse still we were handed two car seats and told that there was no insurance at this location and we would have to adjust and install the seats ourselves. Without any guidance or assistance, it took us nearly two hours of trial and error to adjust an unfamiliar car seat and install it in an unfamiliar car. I was very disappointed. I expected more out of Avis.

  22. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I apologise that we failed to meet your expectations in this instance. Unfortunately we’ve been having some staffing problems with Baby on Board at Gatwick. We’ve been trying to restore this service with our provider, Baby On Board, and happily they have told us that normal service will be resumed next week.

    Our policy is to provide sufficient information (e.g. manufacturer instructions) to customers to let them know how the baby seat works. In the absence of the Baby On Board service, we are unable to accept final responsibility for the fitting of the seats, which rests with the parent/guardian of the child. We recognise that this may cause some disruption, where parents are unfamiliar with a make or model of seat and car, but our staff should be on hand to assist and provide instruction from the manual, and I am very sorry this was not the case. I have highlighted this to the Station Manager at Gatwick to ensure corrective action is taken.

    Let me know if you have any further thoughts or feedback.

    Stephen

  23. Pete Says:

    Hi,

    Can you tell me if Avis still use Britax for all it’s car seats? Personally I don’t trust anything else and will be travelling over Xmas this year from the middle with two young kids. Would be a big bonus if I can leave the kids seats in Kuwait safe in the knowledge that you will supply a quality product. FYI we had a really bad experience with [a competitor] this summer which put us off this idea, so your advice and reassurance would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, if the BOB team are present an extra pair of hands would be a great help. Do you supply any ISOFIX seats?
    Many Thanks

  24. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Pete, in order to fully answer this question correctly would you be able to confirm what rental office you are looking to rent from?

    Rob

  25. Pete Says:

    Hi Rob,

    We’ll be doing a round trip LHR up north and back over approx 3 weeks. We’ll be booking the A4 2.0 so was wondering if ISOFIX seats can be fitted for added safety (after all they are essentially idiot proof!)

    Pete

  26. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Pete, the Baby On Board service is available at Heathrow. Their staff are here to help fit them from 7am to 6pm. Outside of these hours they will do their best to fit the seats to a car in advance. Baby On Board use Chicco seats (they are not ISOFIX though). I don’t have children myself but I am told they are of a high quality. We do have some Britax in stock so we may be able to provide this as a ‘one off’, but there is no guarantees. If you would like me to request a Britax seat (these are ISOFIX) then please email your reservation number to comments@avis.co.uk and I will pass this request on to the Heathrow team.

    Does this answer all of your questions? Let me know if you need anything else.

    Rob

    BoB seats are not ISOFIX. Only some of our fleet has ISOFIX fixings not all of the fleet.

  27. Pete Says:

    Many thanks rob – great service.
    I’ll e-mail the reservation number as soon as I find it. Really appreciate your help.

    Well done AVIS

  28. Patrice Says:

    We will be renting a large people carrier from you in Nice Airport in September. We will need infant seats. I have seen your previous replies re ISOFIX – my question is as follows: where the vehicle IS designed to take ISOFIX seats, do you provide just the seat (and we have to secure it with seat belts), or the seat PLUS the isofix base (the base is removable) but if you provide the base we can click the seats in and out. Or would we need to bring our own base units (large and heavy!)
    Many thanks

  29. Chris Cox- Reservations, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Patrice,

    In France they don’t have the ISOFIX seats; they have instead normal child safety seats that are fitted with the seat belts. Cars that do have the ISOFIX fittings available don’t have the bases fitted; these would need to be provided by the renter along with the actual seat itself.
    I hope that helps

    Chris

  30. Wendy Says:

    Hi,
    We will be hiring a people carrier and two infant seats at Bordeaux airport in June 10. Please can you confirm what make of carseat is supplied and also who fits them in the car?
    Thanks in advance

  31. Michael O'Donnell- Reservations, UK Says:

    Hello Wendy,

    I have rang Bordeaux Airport and they tell me that they have many different makes, Chicco being among them. Each make is up to the usual European Safety Standard. Unfortunately we cannot say which make you will have on the day, but it will be a good make. As regards to fitting the seat, there will be someone there on the day to show you how to fit them,

    Thanks

    Michael-Avis UK

  32. Wendy Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to enquire & reply :O)

  33. JT Says:

    Hi

    We will be hiring a Renault Scenic (or something similar) from Biarritz Airport. Do cars in Frnace have the Isofix fittings? We are thinking of taking our own seat but want to check there are the the 2 fittings in the car.

    Thanks

  34. Michael O'Donnell- Reservations, UK Says:

    Hello JT

    At the moment the Isofix system is not standard in all Avis cars. I therefore could not guarantee that your seat would lock into our seats.

    Regards,

    Michael

  35. John Says:

    I appreciate that the Isofix system is not standard in all Avis cars. We are looking to book a car in Limoges with 2 isofix car seats (bases and the seats themselves). One for a 2 month old and one for a 2 year old. If we book sufficiently in advance, will we be able to request this?

    Regards

    John

  36. Michael O'Donnell- Reservations, UK Says:

    Hi John,

    We spoke to the Limoges branch and they have the Isofix sytsem in some of the fleet but not in all. We couldn’t get a guarantee but when you are booking the car you could ask for a preference for Isofix.
    Avis in France are slowly switching over to the system but as I say it’s not fully implemented yet.

    Regards,

    Michael

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