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Are Car Seats Allowed in Rental Trucks?

August 29th, 2016 - 3:37 PM

Rental trucks and families with young children

Choosing a moving service can be difficult – especially when you’re moving with children. As a parent, you want to make the best decision for your budget, but, more importantly, you want to make sure your family will be safe. You know car seats are used to protect children in the back seat of personal vehicles, but can they be properly used in moving trucks? And if they can’t, what alternatives are out there?

can a child ride in a rental truck

Can you put a car seat in a moving truck?

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:

NHTSA safety seat recommendations

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?

Laws about car seats in moving trucks

There are no federal laws that specifically address children riding in rental trucks. However, each state has set their own child passenger safety laws that all travelers should follow. Before your move takes place, review the laws for each state you’ll be driving through so you’ll know what to do.  

What are rental truck companies saying?

U-Haul, Penske and Budget have all provided information about having car seats in their moving trucks:  

Can you put a car seat in a U-Haul truck?

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, but not all have passenger side airbags.

Can you put a car seat in a Penske truck?

After talking with a Penske representative, we learned that child seats and booster seats are permitted in their trucks. There’s a switch on the passenger side that customers can use to disable the airbags.

  • 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.

Can you put a car seat in a Budget truck?

According to a Budget representative, they do not recommend placing a car seat or booster seat in the truck.

  • Seating: The 12 ft. truck has two seats. The 16 ft. and 24 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.

What should you do?

There is no concrete answer. Ultimately, the decision 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. None of the rental truck companies above offer trucks with back seats.

If you’re feeling a little nervous about your baby, toddler or young child riding in a rental truck (even though some companies say it’s OK), an affordable “you pack, we drive” alternative like U-Pack® may be the service you need.   

U-Pack: an alternative for families moving with children

With U-Pack, you don’t have to question the safety of putting a child in a rental truck (with or without a car seat). Instead, we transfer your belongings,  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 your new home
  • You unload everything
  • We pick up the empty equipment

It’s simple, convenient and removes any worry about car seat safety in a rental truck. Get a free online quote (it includes the driver, taxes, fuel and liability coverage), 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.

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