I have a 14 month old that we are taking to France in the fall (he was there when we was 4 months old, too!)
I have a copy of the Travels with Baby book and was reading about the car-seat alternatives (Eddie Bauer plus others). We are renting a car with a car seat but I would still need something for the baby when we ride on the shuttle bus and thought the portable /collapsible seat would be ideal due to its size and weight, etc. I was looking at the website but I do not see mention (except for one brief reference to the Eddie Bauer version under the CARES description) of these seats.
Did these portable seats get banned or recalled or are they just not available/popular?
Thanks very much,
Dear Deborah (and others facing the same dilemma),
The Eddie Bauer portable car seat, which was classified as a travel vest for use in motor vehicles only, was unfortunately discontinued. For now the RideSafer vest is the closest alternative, though it’s not suitable until around 3 years of age (see more in Car Seat Alternatives and my RideSafer review).
If you are flying into Paris (CDG, Orly, or Beauvais), you might consider using Mondial Shuttle Service, which will arrange to have an appropriate child safety seat for you upon request (one provided per van). You can book them for a shared, lower-cost ride for your family, or pay more and have private door-to-door service. They also provide shuttle service to Disneyland Paris (Eurodisney) for those interested.
Otherwise, for your son at 14 months (who I suspect may have more travel ahead of him in the next few years?), you might consider the Sit N Stroll child safety seat, which can be belted in with the shuttle bus seat belt, assuming there is one (see my detailed review here) . At times when I’ve found no safety belts in airport shuttle vans and taxis abroad, I have appreciated being able to set my Sit N Stroll rear-facing with my child strapped into it at least (wedged against the seat back if possible), still giving some level of protection over riding on my lap alone.
It would mean traveling with a car seat the entire way, though one that will roll through the airport (gate check it, or use it in a spare seat on the aircraft if they have one for you) and then right to the door of the shuttle bus or taxi. You would also have the advantage of knowing what car seat you’ll be using on the other end. As well, a handful of baby gear rental agencies rent the Sit N Stroll. If you’re interested, you can check the agencies near you (see worldwidedirectory of baby gear rentals).
For more help, see these related posts and pages:
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks
PSSST! If you’re kids are getting too old for this, check out Family Travel 411.