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Do I Need a Car Seat in NYC cabs?

By Jak Burke,

New baby, NYC. How do you get about? Visiting NYC with a baby? For many new parents the subway just doesn’t feel safe because of heightened security alerts or just the prospect of exposing a young infant to communal germs and dirt. Buses can be unreliable or crowded and bad weather, distance and a tight deadline may force many parents to consider hailing cabs with a baby.

The question is – how safe is it?

Things to think about

  • Cabs are cars driven by people you don’t know.
  • Cab drivers may drive at fast speeds, cutting and dicing through traffic with dizzying moves.
  • Is the cab in good working condition?
  • Cab drivers are subject to the law.

What the law says

Taxi cabs are exempt from requiring car seat so it’s up to your own judgment.

“Drivers of yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles and their passengers, are exempt from laws regarding car seats and seatbelts.  Keep in mind, the TLC encourages everyone in the vehicle to buckle their seatbelts while riding in a cab.  There are no Taxi and Limousine Commission rules regarding this, as it is a State exemption. Passengers with children are encouraged to bring their own car seats, which the drivers must allow passengers to install.

*NOTE – Children under the age of seven are permitted to sit on an adult’s lap.”

What if …

Studies show that NYC taxi passengers are 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than the passengers in the other vehicle involved in the crash.  Accidents happen – but you can prevent injuries.  Have NO REGRETS; protect your children. Make sure that quick taxi ride to school or a playdate doesn’t send your child to the hospital.”

8 Tips on taking a taxi

  1. Give yourself plenty of time so you can fit the car seat securely
  2. Hail a cab as close to your location as possible
  3. Request that the cab driver pulls to the curb so as to avoid blocking traffic
  4. Ask for help if you need it
  5. Use a stroller that comes with the seat
  6. Ask the driver to drive slowly and safely
  7. At your destination again ask the driver to pull right in where it’s safe to alight and where you won’t block traffic
  8. Get your baby out first and pay the driver last

Tips on fitting

  • Keep kids rear-facing as long as possible (at least age 2) – it’s 5 times safer than forward-facing!
  • Keep kids in a 5-point harness car seat until at least age 4, at least 40 pounds, AND mature enough to sit in booster
  • Use a booster until the child passes the 5-step test

Car Seat Compatibility chart

Still worried? 

5 rental car companies with car seats for babies

Uber, the car service with the easy-to-use app and controversial dynamic pricing, recently started offering car seats as part of its uberFAMILY plan. For a $10 surcharge, your car arrives with a car seat already installed.

Legends Limousine, which is based in Park Slope, Brooklyn, offers both baby and toddler car seats for a $10 charge. (No booster seats though). Call 888-534-3637.

Empire Limousine provides a range of car seats and booster seats for a $20 fee. Call 800-431-0313.

Eastern Car Service has infant and toddler car seats for $5 each. Call 866-499-7177.

Kid Car NY is a car service especially for families and can be a bit more expensive than the other companies listed above. Drivers arrive in luxury minivans with a car seat specifically for your child’s height and weight. This option probably makes the most sense if you’re traveling with several kids. If you live in NYC, paying for a membership gets you discounts on rides. Car seat installation training and car seat rentals are also offered. Call 212-862-7233.

 

Resources

Guide to State laws about car seats

http://www.safeny.ny.gov/seat-vt.htm

http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/faq/faq_pass.shtml

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/gear/yes-you-can-install-car-seat-nyc-taxi

http://mommypoppins.com/newyorkcitykids/car-services-with-car-seats-in-new-york-city

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