By Clair Morton
Published: Monday, May 28, 2018
If you’re travelling with young children, there’s something you need to think about very carefully before you order an Uber.
In the eyes of the law, ridesharing services (like Uber or Lyft) are just another private vehicle. That means children must always be placed in a suitable, approved child restraint until they can wear the adult seatbelt correctly (around 145cm tall).
The same applies to chauffeured vehicles and limousines.
Some rideshare services may provide a car seat for a surcharge, so be sure to check before booking.
If you don’t let them know a child will be travelling with you, they may refuse service on pick-up if you don’t supply your own child restraint.
The rules are different for taxis as they have an exemption from these laws.
If a child restraint isn’t available in a taxi, children aged one or older, but under seven, must be seated in the rear row wearing a seatbelt, adjusted to the best extent possible given the height and weight of the passenger.
Children under one year of age must also be in the rear row, but seated in the lap of a passenger who is 16 years or older (and not sharing the seatbelt with the adult).
If the parent or the taxi driver has a child restraint with them, it must be used and all taxis must be fitted with a child restraint anchorage to facilitate this fitting.
Most taxi services do not supply child restraints, but there are exceptions to the rule – in NSW, for example, it’s possible to order a taxi with a fitted child restraint.
Taxi drivers are still required to ensure children from seven to 16 years of age are properly restrained.
Failure to follow these laws could see the driver of the service receive a hefty fine and a number of demerit points.
Despite the difference in legal requirements, RAA highly recommends providing your own restraints when using any service that doesn’t offer them.
Child restraints considerably reduce the risk of injury in crashes, and because seatbelts are designed for adults they aren’t suitable for young children.