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I'm leaving in a couple of days for Saudi Arabia. I will have at least three vehicle trips:

  • Airport (Jeddah) to Mecca
  • Mecca to Medinah
  • Medinah to Airport

I'm travelling with two kids (five and three) who use the "middle" car-seat (front-facing, non-booster).

Normally, there are buses available for these trips, which are somewhat safe. Unfortunately, there's a lot of construction right now, and they may not be available; the apparent only other option is to take a taxi.

TLDR: what are my options as far as child safety and car-seats?

  • The taxis probably don't carry car seats, as they're very relaxed about seat belts in general
  • The airline (Saudi Airlines) doesn't mention anything about car seats for non-infants
  • I'm not sure if I can rent car-seats over there

Ultimately, I may have to choose between the lesser of these evils:

  • Kids in the back seats with no seatbelts
  • Kids in the back seats with adult seatbelts
  • Kids in the back seats held by adults
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One could also try and drive as slow as possible, since this can considerably lower the probability of an accident happening. Crashing @ 50 km/h without car seats is probably better than crashing @ 130 km/h with full car safety gear. – JonathanReez Feb 11 '14 at 4:23
@JonathanReez I am not sure that's true. – Relaxed Feb 11 '14 at 6:46
@JonathanReez I won't be driving. That's not an option. – ashes999 Feb 11 '14 at 11:31
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I didn't realize that seat belt laws in Saudi Arabia are nothing close to what they are here. So why would they care about car-seats?

Here's what I ended up doing:

  • Mini-Bus: Our travel agent sent us a mini-bus (local school bus), which is somewhat safer (and slower) than a traditional taxi. This covered two trips (to Mecca, and to the airport)
  • Coach Bus: To get to Medinah, we got a VIP coach bus (not a regular bus or taxi) -- the one that serves food and has a bathroom on board. It was more expensive (~150 SR per person) but also slower/safer than taxi.

Also, for non-essential trips (eg. shopping somewhere far), I avoided the problem by leaving my kids with relatives who travelled with me.

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