Getting around in a city with a little one can be a hassle, but it has become easier and safer since the popular Uber ride-service app began offering car seats in select locations.
City cabs are typically not required to provide safety restraints for children. But in cities such as New York City you can order a taxi equipped with an IMMI Go car seat for an additional fee of $10 on top of the normal fare.
This is a super service for families that want the ease of traveling in cabs and also some peace of mind.
When you open the Uber app, select UberX and then the "Car Seat" option. Vehicles arrive with one forward-facing car seats and two booster seats. Your child must be at least 12 months old, weigh 22 pounds, and be 31 inches tall to ride safely in the forward-facing seat. Children are too big for the forward-facing seats once they weigh more than 48 pounds or are taller than 52 inches.
In addition to one forward-facing car seat, families can request up to two BubbleBum booster seats. To be eligible for a booster seat, the child must be at least 4 years old AND weigh at least 40 pounds. Children are too big if they weigh more than 100 pounds or are taller than 67 inches.
How to Request a Car Seat from Uber
Uber drivers have received instruction and training for how to install the car seat.
Here's how to order a car seat with your Uber request:
- Open your Uber app.
- Where available, choose UberX. In this category, you can expect to be picked up in a car similar to the following: Dodge Charger; Toyota Prius or Camry; BMW 3 Series; Kia Sorento or Optima; Ford Fusion, Escort or Escape; Nissan Altima or Maxima; Honda Accord; Chevrolet Equinox; or Chrysler 200 and 300.
- Request ‘CAR SEAT,’ located above the uberX option
- Ride with your child safely buckled up in a car seat
- Note that there is a $10 surcharge will apply to all Car Seat rides.
More About Uber
Uber was founded in 2009 as a service that lets customers request rides from Uber drivers who use their own cars. By 2017, the service was available on every continent except Antarctica and 600 cities worldwide. Uber's pricing is similar to that of metered taxis. Uber uses a surge pricing model to determine fares.
Another Option: Portable Car Seats
Getting from the airport to your hotel or catching a cab in a city poses a dilemma for parents. Do you schlep your child's car seat with you on your trip? Traveling with a full-size car seat is cumbersome, so some manufacturers have come up with products to solve the problem of how to travel safely with children in taxis and rental cars.
What happens if you are visiting a city where taxis do not provide car seats? If you have a preschooler or young school-age child, one option is to carry your own inflatable Bubble Bum booster seat, which is the brand that Uber provides. This seat is designed for children ages 4 to 11 weighing 40 to 100 pounds. The big benefit of this product is that the seat can be inflated for use and then deflated for carrying and packing, so it is ideal for city getaways where you may be jumping in and out of cabs during a day of sightseeing.
Another option is the Mifold, the grab-and-go booster seat that's 10 times smaller than regular boosters but just as safe. It is small enough to fit inside a backpack or glove compartment. While most boosters elevate a child to adult height, Mifold adjusts the adult-sized seatbelt downward to securely fit a child. Two guides hold the lap belt on the child's hip bones, while a shoulder strap and clip aligns the chest strap with the child's shoulder. Mifold has been safety tested and is designed for kids aged 4 and up, 40 to 100 lbs, and 40 to 57 inches tall.
For the toddler-to-preschool crowd, combine the booster seat with a RiderSafer 2 Travel Vest. Designed for children weighing 30 to 60 pounds, this restraint is worn by like a vest and features loops through which the vehicle's seat belt is positioned.