The Deal Mommy

Don’t Make This Family Car Rental Mistake: AKA That Time I Almost Killed My Kid

Family car rental: A happier moment from the same trip. Baelo Claudia, Spain 2005

A happier moment from the same trip. Baelo Claudia, Spain 2005

I’m sharing with you a family car rental cautionary PSA

To be honest, eleven years later I hate thinking about it- one of the scariest minutes of my life.  But it’s an important story you need to know so you can easily prevent it from happening to you. I still see rental cars all of the time where this could easily be you. 

In short, I took basic safety for granted and it almost killed my kid.

Here’s the story:

The overnight flight and connection in Paris to Malaga couldn’t have gone more smoothly. I dutifully strapped Deal Kid, 2, into his car seat in our rental car and off we went blazing down the Mediterranean highway at 70 MPH (the speed limit) on a perfect October morning.  We were going West, so the best views of the sea were in the left lane.  Traffic was light and the Spanish language radio was welcoming me “home” after two years of being stuck in the USA.

It was a very easy assumption to make, especially after an overnight flight with a two year old and a 30 minute wait at the rental counter in Malaga: that since I was a parent with a young child and used safety locks on the back seats, everyone did.  I didn’t learn of my lapse in judgement until about 20 minutes into the drive…when his door flew completely open.

As I was driving 70 miles an hour on the freeway in the left lane.

Looking back eleven years later, it’s funny what occurs to me:

  • I remember thinking, besides “$@#$@%$%@#$%!” , “Oh, that’s what they mean by ‘drag’ “, as the car lurched to the left, almost hitting the guardrail and careening over the fifty foot drop to the Eastbound lanes below.
  • When you have to do an emergency stop at 70MPH from the left lane of a freeway, what’s behind you is scarier than what’s in front of you.
  • Seat belts are strong. REALLY strong.
  • Deal Kid laughed through the whole thing as if it were a ride at Sesame Place.

But the main thing that occurred to me EVERY single time I rented a car from then until Deal Girl could be trusted with a door was what I want you to remember now:


The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network.

The family car rental mistake that almost killed my kid.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Make This Family Car Rental Mistake: AKA That Time I Almost Killed My Kid

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