Car Safety for Kids when Travelling Abroad

One of the biggest concerns for parents when travelling abroad with kids is car safety. While we all have our kids safely strapped into car seats in our cars at home, this can become difficult when we are jumping in taxis across town when we are sightseeing or taking an airport transfer to our hotel.

Car Safety for kids when travelling abroad

With small babies – up to the age of about one – car safety when travelling is much easier, as there are many portable car seats on the market. We particularly like ones that will attach to a stroller (known as a travel system), such as a Maxi-Cosi. This way you can lift the baby out of the car or taxi and clip them straight onto the stroller with ease.


In most countries, once a child is 4 years old they are able to use a booster seat instead of a 5-point harness car seat. This makes it much easier for traveling, particularly with several portable car booster seats for travel on the market.

The most difficult age to travel abroad with kids in cars or taxis is the age between 1 and 4 – when they have outgrown the portable car seat but not yet old enough for a booster seat. One solution is the RideSafer Travel Vest (see below), which can be used from the age of 3.

I have yet to find a good safe solution for traveling in taxis with kids aged 1-3 however.

It is essential that you check the car seat laws and the legality of all car seats or booster seats you intend to use in the country you are traveling to.

All countries have different requirements and laws, with many countries requiring your car seat or booster seat to have a label showing that it conforms to local legislation.

Some useful websites for international car seat legislation and information are below:

Children’s car seats in hire cars

Car seats and booster seats are usually available to hire when you book your hire car. While you can bring a portable car booster seat with you (see below for options), if you are hiring a car for a few days or more, you should really consider using a proper high back booster seat. High back booster seats have been found to be the safest type for car travel.


Note that car seats and booster seats booked with your hire car are usually charged on a per-day basis. Most hire car companies cap this at around 10-days but it can still work out cheaper to buy a car seat on Amazon for your holiday, or pay the excess baggage to transport your one from home – but remember that you will need to have it from the moment you set off in the car.

Whenever we have hired a car with car seats they have always come already fitted. However, some companies may refuse to do this due to liability reasons. Even if they are already fitted, make sure you check they have been installed correctly before you set off.

Children’s car seats in taxis and hotel transfers

If you are travelling around town by taxi or using a hotel airport transfer, it is obviously not practical to take a high-back booster seat with you.

Many countries don’t require you to use a car seat or booster seat in a taxi, and many countries in Asia don’t even have any car seat laws whatsoever. However, for us we try whenever possible to ensure we have a portable booster seat with us for these occasions.

Here are our favourite portable car booster seats for traveling abroad with kids.

Trunki BoostApak

The Trunki BoostApak is a car booster seat that also doubles as a backpack. This is brilliant for travel, especially if you are planning to take taxis to and from the airport or for sightseeing once you arrive in your destination.

It has 8 litres of capacity inside, to allow kids to carry their essentials for plane travel or a day of sightseeing. The only downside is that it is quite heavy for small kids to carry for long.

Click here to check prices for the Trunki BoostApak at Amazon

 

BubbleBum

The BubbleBum is an inflatable booster seat that is great for travel as you can inflate it when you need it, and easily deflate and store in your handbag or kids backpack when you reach your destination.

It is light enough for the kids to carry in their backpack too, and small enough to enable three kids to sit side by side in the back seat.

Click here to check prices for the BubbleBum at Amazon


mifold

The mifold Grab-and-Go car booster seat works differently from other booster seats (read our full review here). Instead of lifting the child up like with a regular booster seat, the mifold brings the car seatbelt down so that the adult seatbelt correctly fits the child.

It is small enough to fit in a handbag or child’s backpack and is a great option as a car booster seat for travel.

Click here to check prices for the mifold at Amazon

 

RideSafer Travel Vest

The RideSafer Travel Vest works in a similar way to the mifold, bringing the car seat belt down to correctly fit a child. But instead of sitting on a booster seat, kids wear a vest to hold the straps into position.

The Ride Safer Vest can be used from the age of 3, so is a good option for car safety for young children when you travel. It also folds up small enough to fit into  bag or backpack.

Click here to check prices for the RideSafer Travel Vest at Amazon

Using a Car Seat on the Plane

Using a car seat on the plane has become much more common these days too. Not only is it the safest way for your child to travel according to the Federal Aviation Authority, but it is also an easy way to keep you child comfy (if they like sleeping in their car seat that is).

In order to take your car seat on the plane, you will need to ensure it is FAA Approved – this means it must have a sticker on it saying “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft”. Note that booster seats are not approved for use on airplanes.

For more information read our full article about FAA Approved car seats here.

 

What is your favourite way to keep your kids safe in a car or taxi when you travel abroad?

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Car Safety for kids when travelling abroad

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4 thoughts on “Car Safety for Kids when Travelling Abroad”

  1. We’ve been using the Ride Safer Delight travel vest for our son and it’s great! I have a full review up on my blog. We chose to get that route rather than the mifold because we’ve heard that the mifold doesn’t necessarily offer a great belt fit for every kid in every car. The bubblebum would also be a great choice for older kids!
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    Reply
    • Hi Melissa. I agree the Ride Safer Delight is very good. Interesting your point about the belt with the mifold as I found the same issue with the Ride Safer Vest – I actually find the fit of the seat belt very similar between the two. My son prefers the mifold to the vest, although I still don’t like that they can try and lie down when using it (he used to do that with his vest too), which they obviously can’t do with a proper booster seat, and didn’t do with their Trunki BoostApaks…. so difficult to find the perfect one!

      Reply
  2. I truly agree with you that the most difficult age to travel abroad with kids in cars or taxis is the age between 1 and 4 – when they have outgrown the portable car seat but not yet old enough for a booster seat. I will surely try out the RideSafer Travel Vest as you recommend.

    Super informative post. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. My daughter just recently turned a year old today. We have not traveled outside of the country but I have been planning in it already when she will turn 2. One of the reasons for this delay is because of the inconvenience of packing everything plus a whiny trying to learn to walk toddler. She gets upset every time she’s carried. A car seat is bulky plus the stroller. We got the Chicco car seat. It will be a long time until she graduates from using it.

    Reply

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