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Are Car Seats Allowed in Rental Trucks?

April 30th, 2018 - 9:14 AM

Do family-friendly moving trucks exist?

As a parent, you’ve probably thought about your kids during every step of the moving process. From choosing the best move date, to finding a house in a great school district, moving with kids requires some extra planning. It’s important that your children will be comfortable and safe during the trip, so if you’re considering truck rental, you might be wondering if it’s safe to put a car seat in one. You know that car seats and boosters are used to protect kids and that many states require that kids sit in the back seat of a vehicle. But is that possible with a rental truck? And if not, how can you move with your family?

car seats are not allowed in U-Haul moving trucks

Can car seats go in rental trucks?

Before you can decide if a rental truck is the best way to move your family, you’ll need to review the rules and regulations regarding car seats and child safety:

Car seat safety guidelines

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that a child sit in the back seat of a vehicle at least through age 12. It’s estimated that putting a child in the rear seat reduces the risk of injury and death caused by accidents by more than 30 percent. So, even if your child is no longer required to sit in a car seat, there may still be some safety concerns.

U-Haul®, Penske® and Budget® trucks do not have back seats, which makes it impossible to follow this advice. What do you do if you’re moving? Can a child ride in the front seat of a moving truck?

Car seat laws

Federal laws do not specifically address children riding in rental trucks. However, each state has set their own child passenger safety laws that all travelers should follow no matter what type of vehicle they’re driving. Before your move takes place, review the laws for each state you’ll be driving through as those laws will take precedence over any recommendations from the moving company.   

What do truck rental companies say?

Car seats in U-Haul trucks

According to the U-Haul website, “most of our trucks are equipped with air bags and may not satisfy local requirements for car seats. Young children and those in car seats should not be seated in front seats.”

  • Seating: The 10 ft. truck only has two seats. The 15 ft., 17 ft., 20 ft. and 26 ft. trucks all have three seats. U-Haul trucks don’t have back seats.
  • Seat belts: The 10 ft. truck has both driver and passenger safety restraints. Trucks with three seats provide lap belts.
  • Airbags: All U-Haul trucks have driver’s side airbags, and some have passenger side airbags.

Car seats in Penske trucks

  • Seating: The 12 ft. and 16 ft. trucks are equipped with two bucket seats. The 22 ft. and 26 ft. trucks both have a 3-person bench seat. Penske trucks don’t have backs seats.
  • Seat belts: All Penske trucks have safety restraints for each seat.
  • Airbags: In some trucks, airbags are available for both the driver and passenger.

Car seats in Budget trucks

  • Seating: The 12 ft. truck has two seats. The 16 ft. and 26 ft. trucks have a 3-person bench seat. Budget trucks don’t have back seats.
  • Seat belts: All Budget trucks have safety restraints.
  • Airbags: Most of their trucks have airbags.

So, can you put kids in rental trucks?

Unless strictly forbidden by state law, the decision to put a car seat in a rental truck is up to you. Keep in mind that the NHTSA recommends children stay in the back seat at least through age 12, and some states actually prohibit children sitting up front, even in car seats.

If you don’t want your baby, toddler or young child riding in the front seat of a rental truck, a “you pack, we drive” alternative like U-Pack® may be the service you need.   

U-Pack: a moving alternative for families

U-Pack transports your belongings for you, leaving you able to travel in the family car or catch a flight to your new home.  

What’s even better is that U-Pack prices are comparable to truck rental when you’re moving long distance. Here’s a look at how our service works:

  • We deliver an empty trailer or moving container to your location
  • You pack and load your items
  • We pick it up and drive it to the new home
  • You unload everything
  • We pick up the empty equipment

It’s a simple process that removes worry about car seat safety in a rental truck. Get a free online quote, or call a U-Pack moving specialist at 800-413-4799 to see how much your move will cost.

If you have any questions about car seats in moving trucks or how U-Pack works, just leave us a comment below. We’ll get back to you right away.

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U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Budget® is a registered trademark of Budget Truck Rental, LLC. Penske® is a registered trademark of Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.