By Jak Burke,
Whether you are a new parent in New York City or visiting as a tourist you will quickly need to figure out how to get around. For many new parents the subway just doesn’t feel safe because of heightened security alerts or 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 or ordering an Uber with 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.”
9 Tips on taking a cab
- Have your car seat handy (not in the basement or somewhere that’s difficult to access at the last second)
- Give yourself plenty of time so you can fit the car seat securely
- Hail a cab as close to your location as possible
- Request that the cab driver pulls to the curb so as to avoid blocking traffic
- Ask for help if you need it
- Use a stroller that comes with the seat
- Ask the driver to drive slowly and safely
- At your destination again ask the driver to pull right in where it’s safe to alight and where you won’t block traffic
- 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
Still concerned? Try a service like Kidmoto.
Kidmoto is a car service that specializes in providing “safe family airport transportation” in NYC. (Airports serviced include Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia, Teterboro, and Westchester County.) The minimum starting price varies depending on pickup location and airport. The Kidmoto app is available to download from iTunes or Google Play, and when you book you can choose from a range of vehicle options and request up to four car seats. Rear-facing, back-facing, and booster seats are available.
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.
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.