Does your family uses rideshare services like Uber and Lyft or taxis regularly? Whether they're your main mode of transportation or you use them while on vacation, keep car seat safety in mind every time you travel.
Current car seat laws in California require:
- All children under the age of 8 years or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall are to be transported in the vehicle’s backseat in an appropriate child seat.
- Children younger than 2 years or under 40 pounds are to ride in a rear-facing car seat.
While California car seat laws apply to rideshare and taxi drivers, those companies are not required to provide car seats for child passengers.
“Whether taking a quick trip to the airport or traveling from the hotel to an amusement park, parents should bring a car seat for every child. They should ensure it’s properly secured in the taxi or rideshare vehicle,” said Misael Chavarin, child passenger safety coordinator at UC Davis Health.
Those traveling with children who plan to use a rideshare or taxi service should follow these safety tips:
- When ordering a ride, include a message to the driver that you are traveling with a child in a car seat.
- Before the driver arrives, check the vehicle’s model to make sure it will accommodate the type and number of car seats you have. This is especially important for rear-facing car seats, which may not fit into smaller vehicles. Consider paying the additional fare for a larger vehicle.
- Make sure you know how to install your car seat with both the LATCH system and the vehicle seatbelt. One may work better than the other to secure your car seat in the rideshare vehicle.
- Refresh your installation skills by watching a quick video on how to install your rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, or booster seat. You can also make an appointment for a one-on-one car seat installation lesson with UC Davis Health staff to increase your car seat confidence. Appointments can be made by calling 916-719-8315 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Plan for how you will keep your child safe while you are installing the car seat. Rideshare and taxi services are often used in busy urban areas with heavy traffic nearby.
- Remember that the consequences for failing to properly buckle up any child under 16 are:
- The parent gets the ticket.
- The driver gets the ticket if the parent is not in the car.
- The ticket could cost more than $500 per child for first offense and more than $1,000 per child for the second. Also, one point is added to the driving record, which could raise your insurance rates.
“Using a rideshare feels different than a trip in your family vehicle, but it comes with the same risk of being injured if a crash happens,” said Jennifer Rubin, Safe Kids Greater Sacramento Coalition coordinator. “Remember to buckle up each and every time you are in a rideshare or taxi.”
Check out the UC Davis Trauma Prevention Program Child Passenger Safety web page for more information on car seat safety and installation tips.