Installation of car seats

Recently we hired a car online & they offered car seats, which we needed for our granddaughter. On arrival to collect the car the car seat was Not fitted. My question was and still is that, what if I was a single mum, arriving with 2 children in tow & without any mechanical aptitude, having to be told that the car seat still has to be fitted. I have contacted the ACC, however, there is currently no law requiring car hire companies to have these car seats fitted when they offer the item for hire online. The company we now regularly use for this service advised us that the Fitters they employ take advantage of a 2-day course. Why is it then that the general response to fitting a car seat, for the supposed safety of our children & the requirement to buy an expensive & child-safety Regulated item, does Not currently have the Legal Requirement to have it Professionally Fitted. Are there any ideas out there as to how we can get the current rules reviewed.


Hi @foster.desiree, sounds like a shocker. I would expect when hiring a car that it would be ready to use without any additional fitting or work required. If any other readers or @Travel-Campaigner s have had this experience (or a different one) please share it in the comments below.

I would prefer to fit a child car seat myself rather than relying on an unknown person to hopefully do a good job. A friend who also travelled had a car seat fitted by the car rental company, but after an hour or so realised that it was not fitted correctly and the child seat slid on the back seat about 100mm when going around a corner and slid forward under breaking…the seat beat used to harness the seat was not placed correctly or tightly. When they questioned the hirer, they said it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure the seat is fitted coreectly not the hire company…haven’t checked the laws but possibly correct as the driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers wear seat belts and are approorately fastened.

As a result of their experience, we only take our own car seat when travelling (by plane) and fit the seat ourselves (to hire car/taxi/friends cars) as we know how to fit it correctly.

What we have noticed is that many cars don’t have a ratchet seat belt winder fitted to the rear seat belts. Our Subaru, if you pull the seat belt out fully, the seatbelt only goes in and not out (until the seat belt is fully r.etracted when it can then come out again). This is a good safety feature when installing an no-ISO child seat as one can get a secure lock on the seat belt ensuring it doesn’t come loose over time or over rough roads. Maybe Choice shoild pursue such as mandatory on all passenger vehicles.

Why has fitting a child seat become so complex?

The last time I fitted infant restraints and then child car seats was about 20 years ago,
my youngest is now 27 years old.
We then purchased the latest product on the market and clipped it in, it was relatively easy. a lanyard attached to the approved bolt on the rear parcel shelf and the seatbelt secured around the base.

Why has the installation become that complex it requires a 2 day course to learn?
Surely the modern car child seat if it is that complex to install has become the antithesis of what it should be; a easy to fit safety system that can rapidly be shifted from car to car so as to protect children in a accident. If it is complex then murphies law takes over and if it can be installed wrongly then it will be installed wrongly by accident, no pun intended.

We can put a man on the moon, we can pinpoint our location anywhere in the world with a handheld device, we can practically call anyone in the world from anywhere else with a phone in our pocket, but we cannot engineer a modern simple and foolproof to install car seat? I think what is lacking is the desire too.

In fact fitting a child car seat is no more complicated now than it was 20 years ago - in some cases it’s much easier, especially now that ISOFIX is an option in Australia. Some child car restraints can be fiddly to install but generally aren’t too difficult as long as you carefully follow the instructions on the seat. The probable reasons that professional installers take a course is (a) to ensure they know how to install the seats correctly, (b) give legal coverage to the company, and © give them experience with the various types and models out there, so they can install them quickly and efficiently as well as correctly.

That said, it’s entirely reasonable to expect that a car hired with child seats should be supplied with the child seats already fitted if that was requested. It should be part of the service.

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I agree with you on this. Same situation i was in when we went to Gold coast and hired via enterprise rentals and the baby car seat was just hanging in there waiting for my inexperienced hands. I eventually figured out how to install but took me 40min to do so to make sure it was secure enough. Laws need to exist here when it comes to child safety


Our experience from decades past was every child safety seat or restraint came with a manufacturers installation and safe use manual or booklet. That was to help you the customer fit the seat correctly and restrain the occupant correctly in the seat including age weight and height restrictions for safe use.

Is it a good guess these were also not made supplied with the seat?

And yes it should not rely on the customer to install.
I wonder if under ACL or state consumer law you could refuse the vehicle on the basis the contract is incomplete if the seat is not installed at the commencement of hire?


Especially as some need special requirements with where seat belts go or additional care taken when fitting.

If Australia had adopted the Isofit system earlier and it became the standard method of attachment, then it may be less of an issue as each seat fits exactly the same way.


An article regarding child car seats.

The video clip is well worth watching.

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