Important information about rental trucks and car seats
Did you know the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends children ride in the back seat? There are a few different reasons for this: it helps reduce the risk of accident-related injury by 33%, and it helps protect children from airbags. But if you’re riding in a rental truck that doesn't have a back seat, you may be wondering if it's OK to put a car seat up front. Keep reading to learn what the government and some rental companies recommend, and get info about alternative moving solutions.
Can you put a car seat in a rental truck?
Because rental trucks from companies like U-Haul®, Budget® and Penske® don’t have back seats, they may not be the safest moving option when traveling with young children (even if they’re properly restrained in a car seat). However, unless strictly forbidden by state law or the truck rental company, the choice to put a car seat in a moving truck is ultimately yours. Before making a decision, it’s a good idea to check the child passenger laws for each state you’ll drive through, see what the truck rental companies recommend, and familiarize yourself with some general safety information.
While no laws specifically mention the use of safety seats in rental trucks, each state has laws about car seat requirements. Here are a few examples of what some states require:
- Arkansas law requires children 5 and under who weigh 60 pounds or less to be restrained in the appropriate seat.
- Georgia law states that kids 8 years and under who are 57” or shorter must be restrained in the appropriate seat and ride in the rear seat if available.
- Tennessee law has multiple rules: babies under 1 and weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing infant seat; toddlers 1-3 years old and over 20 pounds should ride in a forward-facing seat; children 4-8 years and under 4’9” should ride in a booster seat; kids 8 years and under and over 4’9” should ride in the rear seat if available. The backseat is recommended for all children between 9 and 12 years old.
Rental company guidelines for car seats
The U-Haul website states that most trucks are equipped with airbags and may not satisfy local requirements for car seats. Penske doesn’t mention anything about car seats on their website, and the only thing Budget states is that the company doesn’t provide baby seats for its equipment. Verify the details with the company you’re considering to see if policies have changed.
The main concern with putting a car seat in a rental truck is the force a front airbag has when it’s deployed. Because airbags are designed to protect adults during an accident, they can be extremely harmful to children. According to the NHTSA, “Airbags deploy within the blink of an eye — or less than 1/20th of a second.” If children are too close to the airbag (or come into direct contact with it), the combination of rapid deployment and forceful impact can cause serious injuries.
If a vehicle doesn’t have a rear row and your child must travel in the front, AAA recommends pushing the seat as far back as possible and disabling the passenger-side airbag. Ask the rental company if that’s possible in the truck you’re considering.
Alternatives to putting a car seat in a rental truck
If you don’t want your baby, toddler or young child riding in the front seat of a rental truck, you have two main options: drive a separate vehicle or use a different moving service. While traveling with kids in your own car is a solution, it may not be ideal. You’ll have to be separated from family members riding in the rental truck, and you won’t have help driving if you get tired. Instead, you may be more interested in using an alternative moving service that allows the whole family to travel together.
U-Pack: a family-friendly moving option
Looking for a family-friendly moving service? U-Pack may be exactly what you need! U-Pack transports your belongings, allowing your family to drive or fly together to your new home. The process is simple and removes any concerns about car seat safety in a rental truck. Get a free quote online or by calling 800-413-4799.
If you have any questions or concerns about car seats in moving trucks, leave a comment below. We’re happy to help!
Recommended reading: Tips for moving with kids
U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Budget® is a registered trademark of Budget Truck Rental, LLC. Penske® is a registered trademark of Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.
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