Taxis are one of the easiest ways to travel in heavily populated areas like cities.
They are also great to use if you’re having car troubles or your car is in the shop, and you need to get to work or run errands.
But what if you’re traveling with your child? They may not feel comfortable sitting in a taxi and may want to sit on your lap.
So, can a child sit on your lap in a taxi? Nope. It is both unsafe and illegal for a child to sit on your lap in a taxi or other riding service. Should you get into an accident, the force of the crash could send your child flying due to not being restrained appropriately. The best option is to have them in a car seat or buckled next to you in the backseat.
This blog post will explain why it is not allowed to have a child sit in your lap during a taxi ride, as well as other rules concerning kids in taxis.
While the laws on having a child in a taxi are a bit muddy compared to those regarding riding in a car, there are still child safety laws in place.
It is important to follow these laws, so let’s talk about what they are
How Should A Child Ride in A Taxi?
Similar to riding in your own car, having your child in a car seat and secured with a seatbelt is the safest option.
Should you or your taxi driver have one on hand, a car seat is the best option for your child. However, holding onto a car seat out in the city can be difficult.
Here are a few other options:
Have them sit next to you with a seatbelt. If you don’t have a car seat available in the taxi, you can have your child sit next to you in the backseat with a seatbelt.
Depending on their size, the best spot is in the middle seat, which is smaller than the two outer seats. This will keep them more securely in their seat while riding in a taxi.
Bring a Ride Safer Travel Vest with you when traveling with a child. This vest is a great, portable option to bring with you when traveling with a child in a taxi.
You can see what one looks like here (Amazon). A child as young as three years old can wear it, and it caters the seatbelt to your child’s size so that it will protect them more efficiently.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A seatbelt may not cover a child’s shoulder and hips as it should because of their small size; however, it is safer in the case of a crash than being buckled with an adult or not at all.
Children are safer buckled on their own than buckled with an adult or not at all. Other options, such as car seats or travel vests, are much safer, of course.
But What If I Don’t Want to Carry A Car Seat Around?
If you and your child are traveling around the city, it can be a pain to carry a car seat around.
You could pack a Ride Safer Travel Vest, which I mentioned earlier, that can be folded easily into a backpack or bigger purse.
Another option is to check with your taxi service on what they offer for your child.
With the increase in riding services, like Uber and Lyft, you can request a car seat or booster seat pick-up.
Most taxi services are also offering these accommodations to compete with these services. If you call ahead and ask for one, most taxis or riding service will send a driver who has it for you and your child.
A child can wear a seatbelt in a taxi and is not against the law to ride in it. You can secure your child with a seatbelt in the backseat of a taxi without penalty.
However, you are putting your child’s safety at risk. It is up to you whether you want to face a fine or possibly endanger your child’s safety by being improperly secured in city traffic.
You can rent out a car seat or booster seat in the city. In Chicago, for example, there are companies, such as this one, that offer various equipment that you can rent for a couple of hours while in the city.
Car seats are one of those pieces, which can really help in a pinch when you need one, but don’t want to bring your own. There are probably companies like this in other cities.
What Is the Law for Children Riding in Cars?
There are laws that apply to children riding in any vehicle, at any time. They include:
- All children under 13 should ride in the back of the car. This law is to protect children from the impact of the airbags that deploy during an accident. While airbags can protect adults from the impact, it can be harmful or even fatal to young riders. For this reason, all children should ride in the back.
- All children 8 and younger should have an adjusted seatbelt or car seat for their safety. Children who are 8 years old or younger have smaller bodies, and the seatbelt in cars may not provide the ideal protection it will for older children and adults. Children should be fitted with adjustable seatbelts or secured in car seats to protect them.
- A child’s parent or guardian should provide protective seating options. This law is important for parents or guardians to follow for their child’s safety. If they are pulled over and an officer notices that a small child is not secured properly, they can be fined up to $100. While this may not apply as heavily to taxi drivers, it is still important to follow.
- Be sure that the restraining system you are using with your child is secured properly. Putting your child in a booster seat or car seat that isn’t set up properly will not do its job properly. Make sure that you refer to the owner manual for all protective equipment first, so that you can make sure that your child is safe and will remain safe.
But I Just Need A 20-Minute Ride to My Hotel!
If you are traveling abroad and just flown into the airport with your children in tow, it can be overwhelming to worry about having a car seat ready to go.
You already have crabby kids, loads of luggage, and are pretty grumpy yourself. So, is it worth it to risk not having a car seat for a 20-minute ride to your hotel?
No! Don’t risk your child’s safety to get to your hotel a few minutes earlier.
A car accident can happen within the airport if the taxi driver simply turns away from the road for a moment. Don’t trust that your taxi driver will be safe because even the best drivers can still get into accidents.
Call ahead or book a ride to your hotel beforehand.
While it can be just another thing that you have to do before traveling, it will save you time and headache to have a taxi ride with a car seat ready to go and waiting for you at the airport.
Many riding services offer online booking, where you can request a car seat as part of the booking process.
Check and see if your hotel provides a shuttle service from the airport to your hotel.
This will save you the worry of needing to book a taxi with a car seat at all. Not only will you save the cab fare, but you also won’t need a car seat since the shuttle bus is larger and you can hold your child next to you.
Alternative Choices to Riding in A Taxi
You have options besides taxis to ride around the city if you’re worried about lugging a car seat around for your child.
You can travel in different ways, such as:
Not all of these options will work, but these can be alternatives you can use instead of a taxi or riding service.
A simple Google search for what is around the city you are traveling to or spending the day in can help you plan what will work best for you and your child. You can even include your child in the decision-making process!
TIP: You can also look for online forums for more ideas on the best companies to use if you are going to rent equipment or get tickets/passes for travel around the city.
I’ve discussed that having a child sit on your lap in a taxi is unsafe and illegal. Not only can you get fined for not protecting your child, but it can also be a fatal choice.
Even if you are not the driver, that does not mean that you will not be in a car accident. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Hopefully, this post has helped convince you to put your child’s safety first over convenience.