In Spain, article 117 of the General Driving Regulations includes this International Obligation. Child seats must be used on both urban and rural roads. When mentioning cars it does not distinguish between a private car, another person’s car, a taxi or a rental car.
To simplify: When you rent a car, you would automatically assume that you must use a seatbelt? The same is true of a child seat: if you rent a car, for example while on holiday, children are obliged to use a child restraining system in exactly the same way. There are no exceptions.
It is true that the obligations for age and height may vary slightly according to the country in live or happen to be visiting, although little by little this is being standardized. Included in the MAPFRE FOUNDATION website is information on the criteria for each country under the heading “Legislation”.
Even if this is not a legal requirement, remember that children travelling by car are much safer if they use a child seat. There is no argument with regard to this fact, it is a reality, proven by statistics and by crash tests.
So what should we do? Two things. The first is to always travel with a child seat, dismantle yours and take it with you. It may be a bit cumbersome but it can often be the most economical option. If you are travelling by plane it is important to wrap it well so that it can’t be damaged in transit.
The second option is to rent a child seat when you rent a car. This is the most convenient option but may be more expensive particularly when renting for a long period.
Car rental agencies understand the need and the obligations involved in child restraining systems and so try to apply reasonable rates for rental. They usually charge by the day with a maximum tariff so it doesn’t work out too expensive (they often charge the weekly rate but don’t charge any more for a two week rental).
A small inconvenience when renting a car seat but one that shouldn’t worry you excessively, is that the child finds it strange and doesn’t want to use it. This shouldn’t cause a major problem.
If you use it as a game, for example asking the child to find the differences or the similarities to their own seat and then explain to them that in the end it is much the same as theirs, pointing out that it has a harness to secure them in the seat and that by using it they will be much more comfortable and safe, they will usually understand and accept the explanation.
The last tip: it is important to reserve the car and the seat in advance since it is something that is not included with every car and they may have limited numbers of seats. Also if the seat is installed in the vehicle on arrival then it should have been correctly and securely fitted.