Do you live in a big city or travel and ride with your child in a taxi?
This is for all the parents who transport their child in a taxi, car service or ride share where you don’t want to haul your car seat along with you. In big cities like New York and Singapore, this is how parents get around.
We’ve heard from a couple of customers that were even advised by their doctor to do some things that were potentially unsafe for their child. (Read more crazy things CPS techs have been told doctors say in this post.)
One of the such thing parents do is put their child in their lap and buckle the seat belt on top of both of them. This is a really dangerous thing to do.
Why is this dangerous?
The equation to determine restraining force is speed x weight. For instance, I am about 200 pounds so if I was in a 10 mph crash, it will require 2,000 lbs of force on this seat belt to restrain me and hold me from moving forward.
If a child were on my lap between me and the seat belt, he’s going to have to absorb all 2,000 lbs of me trying to move forward with the seat belt holding us back. This is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal for a young person restrained between the seat belt and parent.
So how do you travel with your child in a taxi safely?
Worst scenario, you would put the child in the vehicle seat next to you and buckle him up.
How can you do this legally? In most cities, taxis and car services are exempt from the state’s child restraint law (but often not ride share services). This doesn’t make it safe but it is safer than the child riding in an adult’s lap.
Ideally you want the child to be in a restraint system so he is getting optimum protection regardless of what the law says. The laws of physics don’t change regardless of what type of vehicle you are in.
The number one purpose of the seat belt is to keep occupants in the vehicle. With this scenario of the child in the vehicle seat and buckled on his own, you are at least achieving that.
The second principle is to contact the strongest points of the body. A seat belt should contact the hips and the shoulder. A seat belt does not properly do that on a small child. Plus if the shoulder portion is high on the neck it may cause discomfort, making the child want to put it behind them or under their arm. This then makes the seat belt become a lap-only belt which is extremely dangerous for a young child’s stomach organs.
Being buckled on the vehicle seat is better than being buckled with an adult or not being buckled at all.
Another option provides safety along with convenience is using a Ride Safer Travel Vest. This is a certified child restraint for children 3 years old and up that is easy to transport. You can carry it in a backpack and pull it out when you are ready to get into a taxi with your child.
We want to know, do you ride in a taxi with a child? Share your comments below.
By Greg Durocher, CEO at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Technician Instructor since 2002
Copyright 2019 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.
We originally published this post in May 2016. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.