Are Car Seats Allowed in Rental Trucks?

The recommendations, rules and laws

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that children under age 12 should always be buckled in the back seat to protect them from front impact and air bag-related injuries. But because rental trucks don’t have a back seat, what are your options for kids during a move?

Most truck rental companies don't explicitly say whether you can put car seats in their trucks. Most tell you to reference car seat laws, and in most states, the laws detail height and weight requirements and recommend the back seat. However, just because you legally can place a car seat in a rental truck doesn’t make it safe.

Take a look at these considerations to figure out the best option for your family.

Dad and child playing in the cab of a rental truck.


Why rental trucks aren’t ideal for kids

The car seat safety organization Car Seats for the Littles explains that some vehicles, like moving trucks, that just don’t have an option for properly installing a car seat, are less-than-ideal for transporting children. Here’s why:

Most rental trucks are equipped with airbags

According to Stanford Children’s Health, during crashes, airbags inflate at speeds of up to 200 mph, which can severely or fatally injure a child. They recommend children be over 13 years old and 65 pounds before riding in the front seat with an airbag, even in the center seat where there isn’t one. While often you can disable front airbags in personal vehicles, this typically isn’t an option in rental trucks.

There are no child locks

Child locks prevent kids from opening doors from inside vehicles, which ensures they won’t be able to get out at stops before you’re ready.

Kids need their own space

Children’s toys or electronics could be a big distraction to the driver if they’re up front. Keeping them in the backseat gives kids their own area to wiggle, snack and play.

What if you have to drive a rental truck with kids?

If it’s your only option, find a rental truck company where you can disable the airbags, and then follow the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics for placing children in a front row: move the seat as far back as possible and only place children who can be forward-facing.

How to move without placing a child in a rental truck

Ultimately, the best thing to do if you have young children is to drive a separate vehicle or use a different moving service.

Driving separate with one person in the truck and another in the car with the family isn’t always ideal. One person has to make the long solo trip with the kids, and you may not have anyone to switch with if you get tired.

Many families with kids find that the best option is using a moving service where you don’t have to drive — so the entire family can travel together. U-Pack® is a great alternative to truck rental that helps you do just that We do all the driving, removing concerns about car seat safety in a rental truck.

Get a free moving quote online or by calling 844-362-5303844-594-3077.

Other helpful tips for moving with kids

Moving is a big transition for the whole family. Along with helping you find a safe way to move, we’ve also compiled tips for easing kids through the moving process. Check out our guide to moving with kids to get lists of children’s books about moving and tips for helping them say goodbye.

Have questions?

If you have questions or concerns about car seats in rental trucks or moving with U-Pack, leave a comment below.