Toddlers and Car Seats in the Caribbean

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by SeeJennyCruise, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. SeeJennyCruise

    SeeJennyCruise Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    107
    We are less than 30 days from our family cruise aboard the Magic to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Cost Maya. :goodvibes The cruise and port taxi situation has thrown me. :confused3 I've searched and read so much about car seats, booster seats, and looked for travel options for two grandsons and I'm surprised at how lean the information is for those cruising. I could use help from those of you with experience cruising in the Caribbean with toddlers.

    Both DGS just had birthdays; one is four years old and the other is two. The older DGS is 33 pounds and the younger is about 28 pounds. When flying stateside the boys have their car seats. I can't imagine trying to lug those around at the beach. I thought I had found the solution with a Safety 1st product but it is now retired and only available on eBay. That is the best option so far for the 28 pound 2 year old DGS. The other purchase option is a Bubble Bum thing on Amazon, but the starting weight is 40 pounds.

    I've been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel and have used taxis in both places, but I did not have DGS with me. For those of you who have visited ports with toddlers, how did you handle the car seat / booster seat question when traveling in the Caribbean? :idea:
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. Pinkgurlshubby

    Pinkgurlshubby Has not been blessed by the TF <font color=darkorc

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    5,121
    We did the Eastern in 2008 and didn't know how laxed they were about car seats until we rented a car in St.Maarten.
     
  4. SeeJennyCruise

    SeeJennyCruise Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    107
    I know we don't have to use one to comply with the local laws, but my DIL's would prefer to use seats if it is an option. I've just not found an affordable option or one that doesn't involve lugging the full size car seats aboard our snorkel charter and the beach.
     
  5. Four Bears

    Four Bears Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    240
    Mom of a 2 and 4 year old here:
    The other issue is the access to seat belts. Not every vehicle has them and if they do they are not always in good repair.

    We didn't use our car seats. We use a CARES harness on the plane (http://www.amazon.com/CARES-Child-Aviation-Restraint-System/dp/B0012E4FV8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346620069&sr=8-1&keywords=cares+harness) which is very portable and then use as much bus transportation as we can (they don't have seat belts to use anyways). And hope the law of physics don't catch up with us.

    The other options are not doing the excursions and just doing activities/sightseeing that is within walking distance of the ports.
     
  6. Tiger926

    Tiger926 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    8,084
    Just got off the Fantasy last weekend, and have a very thin 5 yr old little guy (only 44lbs), and he still sits in a harnessed Britax seat, so no excursions for us at all.

    Used offsite shuttle parking at port, and hubby also dropped us off and went alone on the way back as no car seats in there either.

    Best of luck OP, Tiger
     
  7. DisneyMomto3Boys

    DisneyMomto3Boys Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    73
    We are car seat freaks in this house. My 7 year old (who weighs 42 lbs) is still in a 5 pt harness (Graco Nautilus in one car, Britax in the other). However, when traveling in the caribbean, we have had no choice but to say 3 Hail Marys and try not to think about it.

    The taxi from the airport to our resort in Turks and Caicos did not have seat belts. We are opting for the 4 day Dream for this reason. The taxis on Cozumel fly like bats out of you know where and in my experience, not all of them have SEAT BELTS (edited, did not mean to type car seats) anyway.
     
  8. ekatiel

    ekatiel DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Messages:
    1,902
    We're in the "pray and hope for the best" club, here, too. I'm also in the "when I was a kid I used to ride around in the floorboard of my dad's truck" :scared1: club ;). Our boys have been on two cruises, and have been in taxis in Cozumel, and a van in Belize. --Katie
     
  9. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,262
    Us too!:wave2: It is amazing there are so many "baby boomers" walking the earth when we did not have any of this safety stuff. :rotfl2:
     
  10. pdwimmer

    pdwimmer DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    749
    I am a travel brat as well. My mom and dad schlepped my sister and I all over the world and across the US with absolutely no restraining mechanism. I am now 40 years old and am alive to tell the tale. When it is your time, it is your time, a restraining device is not going to keep God from taking you no matter what your age. That being said, in the U.S., my foot does not hit the gas until the kids are all tucked into their seat belts and booster seats. But at least in other countries you don't have a little tiny tin box going up against an SUV, Semi, Hum-V, etc.
     
  11. CanuckTraveller

    CanuckTraveller Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    323
    We were in Cozumel and Costa Maya with our boys last January when they were 6 and 4 yrs respectively. We used a booster for our oldest and car seat for our youngest. Yes, it took some time to find a taxi with 3 point seatbelts, but it is possible. We travel with a Britax Marathon which has built-in lock offs, which makes installing it in Mexico much easier ;)
    I'm going to preface my comments with the fact that I am a volunteer car seat technician here in Canada, and I work in health care. I would never let my children ride unrestrained in a vehicle, unless it is designed to be used without restraints (eg a bus). Despite the naysayers, it is possible to have an enjoyable excursion and use car seats. For example, in Costa Maya we walked less than 500 yards from the ship to the taxi stand, found a cab with seatbelts which dropped us off right outside the restaurant. I had emailed the owner (Steve at Tropicante) and arranged for them to store the car seats inside while we were at the beach. They helped us find a taxi with seatbelts for our return, which dropped us off about 300yards from the ship. Our taxi driver told us many drivers cut the seatbelts because they can fit more passengers that way, but he often gets requests because he still has them in his vehicle :worship: Everyone respected our choice to use the seats, mind you we tipped the people helping us well, which probably helped too. I didn't feel safe walking around Cozumel, so we just walked around the port area a little, but I looked for seatbelts and saw many taxis which would have suited our needs. Yes, I look for seatbelts wherever I go...
    I could not live with myself if we were in a collision and my children were injured or God forbid killed because I didn't bother to bring their seats. Yes, it is inconvenient, but if you want to do it, it can be done. I'm not as familiar with the US car seat laws as I am with the Canadian ones (!), but I do know there are no boosters for children under 30lbs. Even so, most children under the age of 5yrs can't use a booster properly, so here in Canada we recommend they remain harnessed. My youngest will turn 5 in November and he is still in a 5point harness...including while on vacation.
    All this being said, many people choose not to bring car seats, citing the low statistical probability of being in a collision, the "I survived without it" comment (to which the obvious reply is that those who were killed can't give their opinion, but I digress), or the fact local laws do not require it. My opinion is that the laws of physics don't change just because you are on vacation, and I don't want to discover the nuances of the local health care system's trauma unit.
    Good luck with your decision.
     
  12. armywife2001

    armywife2001 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    28
    :thumbsup2


    This is why we will not be doing any excursion that requires taking a taxi as we are not bringing car seats along with us.
     
  13. Started With a Mouse

    Started With a Mouse DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    563
    Amen to that. If inconvenience is a worry, think of the inconvenience for the rest of your life caring for a person having a life changing injury you could prevent.
     
  14. bookite

    bookite Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    207
    I am glad Canuck gave you some really usable info. We lived in sint Maarten for two years and tho we never even came close to an accident, we always used age/size appropriate car seats and I was grateful my kids were able to leave at 2 and 4 in one piece. I've never been good about hoping for the best when it comes to seat belt safety. For those that think they are extreme my (small) ten yo has a britax 5 pt I install for car trips farther than "into town" otherwise he is in a booster. My 8 yo is always in a 5pt unless in a booster in a friend's car. Both are legally "fine" in nothing but a seatbelt but I go by the height, not age suggestion and both are a looooong way from 57" (4' 9"). Others can do what they want but thank you for respecting the wishes of your dil. I get a lot of grief for doing my best to protect my kiddos.
     
  15. bookite

    bookite Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    207
    I am glad Canuck gave you some really usable info. We lived in sint Maarten for two years and tho we never even came close to an accident, we always used age/size appropriate car seats and I was grateful my kids were able to leave at 2 and 4 in one piece. I've never been good about hoping for the best when it comes to seat belt safety. For those that think they are extreme my (small) ten yo has a britax 5 pt I install for car trips farther than "into town" otherwise he is in a booster. My 8 yo is always in a 5pt unless in a booster in a friend's car. Both are legally "fine" in nothing but a seatbelt but I go by the height, not age suggestion and both are a looooong way from 57" (4' 9"). Others can do what they want but thank you for respecting the wishes of your dil. I get a lot of grief for doing my best to protect my kiddos.
     
  16. SeeJennyCruise

    SeeJennyCruise Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    107
    Thank you all for replying and sharing how you provide for your little ones in port. I'm comparing portable car seats and looking into the stroller carts.

    Has anyone used the five point harness travel vest?
     
  17. CanuckTraveller

    CanuckTraveller Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    323
    They aren't legal in Canada, so I have never seen one at a clinic. From what I have read they would do a good job of preventing ejection from a vehicle, which is the biggest worry about an unrestrained occupant. However, they don't have very good head excursion protection, which is what protects a child against whiplash and spinal injuries; and they pose a higher risk of soft tissue damage in the abdomen because the harness can shift easily.
    My opinion? Better than nothing.
     
  18. sandiegosusie

    sandiegosusie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    1,432
    We did the Dolphin swim in Cozumel 3 years ago. No seatbelts were found in any of the cars we checked. I was a nervous Nellie the entire ride! The driver drove fast and careless. My kids were scared to death! I was not happy...though we ultimately were fine and we returned unharmed, I am not willing to repeat and take the risk again with my kiddos. That's just my opinion, but for me, its certainly not worth it. The ships are our destination.
     
  19. SeeJennyCruise

    SeeJennyCruise Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    107
    I am kind of surprised Disney has not thought of how to make money on this issue. I'd much rather rent appropriate child safety gear for taxis, or pay for a driver that is prepared with appropraite child safety seats, then have to lug the seats with us. Maybe it is a liability issue.

    Those of you who take the car seats with you on the cruise, do you check in with luggage or carry on to the ship?
     
  20. pdwimmer

    pdwimmer DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    749
    We take our car seats for use in the US only. When we drop off our car at the car rental center we leave the seats there. Doesn't do much good to have a car seat on a cruise when the taxis at the ports don't have seat belts to strap them in.
     
  21. buckeyemom16

    buckeyemom16 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    Messages:
    180
    We were on the Fantasy in June and took our car seat for DS1 and booster for DD8 because we intended to rent cars in St Maarten and St Thomas We were able to check them to go on the ship in a large laundry bag together. We just shoved the backless booster down in the seat part of the Britax. Didn't want to haul them around the ship while we waited for our room to be ready. The bag was quite heavy! We just kept the seats in the closet in the bag when we weren't using them.

    Having our seats with us was one of the reasons we decided early on to rent cars on our own. We knew we wanted to take our seats and have control of our own transportation. We are experienced cruisers and are comfortable going out on our own. We rented a Jeep in St M and had no problems with all of us having seatbelts or using our seats. We did not end up renting in St T because we decided to just walk around.

    As a side note, Southwest Airlines made us take them out of the laundry bag and put in their clear bag for checking on the plane. This made me nervous because I was worried about the Britax getting torn up but it was fine.

    Hope that helps.

    Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
     

Share This Page