Car Travel for Kids in France

Ange said: April 17 2012 11:42 PM

Hi

Just wondering if you have any info regarding safe car seats in France? Is Britax the same company as safe n sound and do Australian car seats fit into French Peugeot cars? I think I know the answers to these questions but just don’t know how to go about organizing car seats for our French trip.

Also I am planning on getting the CARES harness for my 2.5 yr old but was wondering what the safest thing would be for my 6 week old?

Thanks

Ange

Donna @ Little Gulliver said: April 20 2011 2:16 PM

Hi Ange,

Hmmm, a trip to France sounds fantastic to me right now! I think you’re at the same place as me, when we first started travelling with our kids…we’re so geared up to keeping them safe at home and suddenly there is this black hole of information and the rules and regulations suddenly disappear (this is how Little Gulliver came about). It makes no sense to me and we’re fairly determined to make things easier and clearer for folks.
I’ve broken your query down into a few points, I hope you find it useful;

* any info regarding safe car seats in France?

I’m sure you’ve already read up on the basic car seat regulations in France, such as;

A child under 10 must sit in the back and “use restraint system appropriate to weight (between 9-15 kg child seat, over 15kg booster seat in conjunction with normal seat belts).” So I guess you’ll need either 2 car seats or a car seat and a booster. More about safe car seats in France later…

* is Britax the same company as safe n sound and do Australian car seats fit into French Peugeot cars

Yes, Britax is the umbrella company which manufactures the Safe n Sound range available here in Australia. But – do they fit in French cars? I wish this was so much easier for us travelling parents to navigate! I cannot say for sure, but my understanding is that while the Australian car seat would likely fit in the car, it wouldn’t be approved for use in Europe. One reason being the safety anchor bolt we use in our cars is not present in European cars. I’m also not aware if the Peugeot has the Isofix system, if it does you would need an Isofix car seat (not yet available in Australia).

Have you seen the Bubble Bum? If you are happy to use a backless booster for your older child and if they meet the requirements etc then it may be worth checking out… (we can’t sell it here because it isn’t approved for use in Australia, but it is approved in France)…

* Also I am planning on getting the CARES harness for my 2.5 yr old but was wondering what the safest thing would be for my 6 week old?

The CARES is perfect for your 2.5 yo. For your baby, there are a few options.

You could try to book an on board bassinet. You generally have to book ahead and may not be able to secure one. Also, some folks don’t like them as the seats in this area often don’t recline. If you know the make of aircraft, maybe check on Seat Guru and see if you can get any more info.

The airline (if it is Australian) will provide you with the “supplementary loop belt” you have probably used before with your toddler. There are other products available you may like to look at, such as the Baby B’Air and the Flye Baby. The Baby B’Air, while it looks like a great product, in my opinion, doesn’t provide a lot more protection than the supplementary loop belt provided here and cannot be used during take off and landing. I do agree that it is smart to have to the child restrained in case of unexpected turbulence. The Flye Baby certainly sounds popular and has recently been made available in Australia. Again, I’m iffy about this one too (again, just my opinion and this is why we don’t stock it at this stage). Note, this is not a safety device and again cannot be used during take off and landing and while the seat belt sign is lit. I can see that it may be handy if you are the only adult travelling with a number of children and a baby. I must stress here though, don’t be afraid to ask the crew for help or accept it when its offered (learnt this the hard way).
Of course, there is also the option of taking a car seat on board. This could be considered the safest option and CASA provide some good tips and info here. Again, look out for red tape and this has to be approved with your airline. If you have an Australian car seat and you are not travelling on an Australian airline, chances are your seat won’t be approved. There is no anchor point on the plane however, so the seat is attached using the seatbelt and again, you may not be able to use the seat in your vehicle in France. (Check out the Go Go Kidz TravelMate if you do consider taking your car seat with you).

I’d love to hear your thoughts and how the rest of your plans go. All the best for your planning and a great trip.

 

Kind regards,

Donna

Information Sources and Handy Links;

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g196658-i2958-k742712-Child_carseat_laws_in_france-Beauvais_Oise_Picardy.html

http://www.survivefrance.com/group/franglaiskids/forum/topics/whats-the-law-on-car-seats-for

http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/babies-and-kids/travel/transport/isofix-on-its-way.aspx

http://www.deliciousbaby.com/travel/france/paris/

One thought on “Car Travel for Kids in France”

  1. Thanks Donna for the great info and follow-up. It can be quite tricky getting all the information from here.

    The hire car options make it simple to get car seats for the trip. I have done this too when we travelled with our little boy at 8 months old. I was disappointed to find that Peugeot car leasing only sell you the seats although they are good quality Britax seats and seem reasonably priced (not discounted though). This is quite expensive for 2 seats but maybe I can sell them later through friends and eBay in France!

    I have confirmed with Britax (who make safe n sound here and Romer over there) and also with Peugeot Europe, that it is illegal to use Australian seats on France as they have different bolts and connections so we do need to get seats over there. Now I’m just deciding whether to buy them myself online or through Peugeot and how to sell them when we are done as it will be around $500 for the 2 seats. Having said all that, Peugeot car leasing in Europe have an excellent service and great new cars that are cheaper to have than a hire car if you are staying long enough so we will work it out!!! It’s a shame they don’t hire out car seats through their other car hire company as part of Europcar but never mind.

    Thanks again for your help and I’ll keep you posted on outcome!
    Regards
    Ange

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