Yes, Your Child Needs A Car Seat To Travel In An Uber

can kids travel in an uber without a child seat?

When you're towing a kid in a new city without a car, it can be tempting to strap them in an Uber - sans car seat - "just this one time." But is doing so actually legal?

Hidden cameras have discovered that drivers have been letting passengers do so. ("If you're all right with it, I'm okay with it," one driver said to an undercover mum.)

But the laws of physics don't change when you're on a holiday. Car seats save lives (and in most places, are required by law), whether you're cruising around your neighbourhood or in a town on the other side of the world.

For example, here's the official advice from the VicRoads government website:

It is the law that all children travelling in a motor vehicle who are under 7 years of age, be restrained in a suitable restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened. A rideshare vehicle is just like any other private car and requires child restraints to be installed to transport children under 7.

In other words, you're going to need a child seat if you want to travel with your kid in an Uber.

Does Uber have a child seat service?

In some countries, Uber provides a service called Uber Car Seat or uberFAMILY. These are uberX vehicles that come equipped with a car seat for a $US10 surcharge. Unfortunately, this service is not currently offered on the Australian version of the app.

To legally ride in an Uber with your child, you will therefore need to supply your own Australian Standards Association approved car seat. Even then, the rider may decide to refuse the fare due to the extra time and effort required. (Uber drivers are independent contractors and there doesn't appear to be any set policy about child car seats.)

Other options

This is one scenario where the traditional taxi definitely trumps Uber and other ride sharing services. In most states and territories, it is legal for children over the age of one to wear a seatbelt while travelling in a taxi - you don't even need a booster seat.

If you'd prefer not to risk the safety of your child, most taxi services offer child seat-equipped vehicles. Simply request one when you ring up to order the taxi.


Comments

    Shebah is in every state and you can book baby seats and boosters.

    I wasn't aware that Lifehacker was a Victorian only website. For those uber riders in Queensland, yes you can LEGALLY catch an uber without using a car seat, but many drivers will refuse or prefer not too as they don't want to live with the consequences if heaven forbid, the worst happens.

    There really should be equivalence between taxis and ride sharing services on child seats. We've had to use taxis in nsw/vic/QLD because of this legal issue, but taxis are just awful compared to ride sharing - the attitude of drivers (we've had taxis refuse to take us 2 km because they did not want to bother, yet we had a young child and it was raining), we've had taxi drivers who refuse to show their driver details and the taxi fare sign (both against the taxi regulations) and then had the driver threaten to drop us in the middle of nowhere when I asked why they were not displaying these, the cars are older and dirtier and smellier, I regularly see taxi drivers spitting but do not see the same for ride sharing drivers, and taxis are obviously more expensive (about 1.5 times the cost). And yet the laws of physics are the same in a car accident for both for a child in a seat belt, so there is zero reason to believe that taxis would be any safer. The law ought to be the same for both.

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