car seat for travel to Europe

Apr 22nd, 2010, 05:16 PM
  #1  
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car seat for travel to Europe

This will be my first trip to Europe with my husband and 11 month old son. We will travel to London, Paris, Nice, Madrid and Malaga on May 1. I was wondering if any fodorites have travelled with an infant to Europe and if there are any recommendations about strollers and car seats. Is it cumbersome to travel with them by train? Should we travel by plane instead within Europe? Any advice from people who have travelled with infants will be greatly appreciated. I am beginning to get a bit anxious about visiting Europe for the first time with a baby.

Pardon my ignorance here but do I need to install the car seat in a taxi from London airport to the hotel? Or everytime we take a cab in Europe?
Thanks.
gsquar is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 11:59 PM
  #2  
 
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Hopefully this will answer your questions (in the UK anyway).

http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/law/...htm#-Otherrear
Hooameye is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 03:44 AM
  #3  
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We have taken our son, as an infant, a toddler, and now a child, to both Paris and London.

That website says that it is legal to have a child in a taxi without a car seat, in the UK.

I assume you will be flying into Heathrow? If so, the first ten miles of your journey into London will be on the M4 -- a major freeway. It may not be 70 mph, there may be traffic and you might just creep along. But, it might be clear and you might go fast! That would make me uncomfortable if I was holding a child. For the record, we have done the same thing, at CDG into Paris. We held on tight and said our prayers!

Once in the city I have no problem hopping into the back of the cab.

As for strollers -- well, people have kids in those places too, so there will be strollers. However, if you're used to stroller friendly US you might be surprised. For example, many of the tube stations have stairs and no lift. With one of you holding the handles and the other holding the bottom of the stroller escalators can be negotiated. It's not fun. But, you can do it and nobody will yell at you. You might look into the smaller umbrella style strollers, if your little one is big enough. I wouldn't want to take a great big jogging stroller through those cities!

Do you ever use a back pack or a bjorn to carry your little one? That might be a good idea as well.

For the record, I prefer to take trains over planes with our son. It's more interesting for him to look out the window. There is a bit more space. Usually train stations are in city centers so there isn't the added hassle of getting into the city from a far flung airport.

Will it be a pain in the neck? Yes. Will you get hot and sweaty carrying all of that stuff? Yes. Will it be worth it. Yes (in my opinion).

Take things slow. Plan ahead. Keep tummies full. Be flexible. Don't try to do too much. Have fun!
BKP is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 09:02 AM
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Get the lightest stroller possible, preferably one that folds into a smallish shape. We had a Combi, which folds lengthwise in thirds and is light. There are others of various weights and prices.

On the Tube, when crowded, Londoners would be startled and initially a bit put out at getting bumped, then they'd see the stroller and just smile or nod.
BigRuss is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 10:11 AM
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Take the lightest, smallest stroller you can find.
padams421 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 10:29 AM
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"If so, the first ten miles of your journey into London will be on the M4 -- a major freeway"

Most likely not - most folks take the tube or a train into London. Or if you book a car service, you also book a car seat. They will bring a car w/ a car seat in the back. So in London you'd really have no need for a car seat. A stroller - yes.
janisj is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 12:25 PM
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Unless you are hiring a car I don't think you need a car seat - and even if you hire a car you can hire a seat for it.
If the only time you will use the seat is in the plane then you have to ask yourself if it is worth lugging it all around with you.

A backpack would not be a good idea with an 11 month old imho - they are too heavy to carry on your back for any length of time and it would be worse than carrying a rucksack through cities and on trains etc.

You are leaving it late for organising trains or planes for a trip starting May 1st btw.
hetismij is offline  
Apr 25th, 2010, 09:09 AM
  #8  
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janisj -- the op specifically mentions taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel, which is why I made the point about the M4.

I agree though -- a car seat is unnecessary in London.
BKP is offline  
Apr 25th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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BKP -- "the op specifically mentions taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel,"

Oh right. I meant to include in my post the point that a taxi from the airport is a crazy idea. From LHR it would be very expensive, and from LGW it would be VERY expensive and very long.

The tube or a car service would be far better.
janisj is offline  
Apr 26th, 2010, 04:57 AM
  #10  
 
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We used the "Safety 1st Tote N Go DX Portable Car Seat" when we traveled to Europe when are kids were very small (we rented a car and had some long drives. It takes a little patience and practice to secure it properly, but it's small and lightweight - easy to pack.
john127 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2010, 05:00 AM
  #11  
 
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Oh, and I second the advice about the lightest stroller you can find. Don't stress traveling with your baby - it's no different from traveling around at home. We've done long train, car, and plane trips and not any any more issues than would on a normal day out here!
john127 is offline  

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