By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Keeping your kids safe is every parent’s top priority. The rules for travelling with small children in your own car are generally well known but using taxis or a rideshare service with a child onboard might raise a few questions.
RAA’s here to clear up any confusion and help you avoid an ‘Uber’-uncomfortable ride.
Will I need a child restraint in a taxi?
Taxi drivers have an exemption from the child restraint laws, however if the parent or taxi driver has a child restraint with them, it must be used.
All taxis must be fitted with a child restraint anchorage so that a seat may be fitted.
Most taxi services don’t provide child restraints, so it’s recommended you provide your own restraint when travelling in a taxi to keep your child safe.
If a child restraint isn’t available in a taxi, children aged 1 or older, but under 7, 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 1 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).
Do rideshare services provide child restraints?
Under the law, rideshare services like Uber and Ola are private vehicles. This means children must be placed in a suitable child restraint until they can wear an adult seatbelt correctly.
Unfortunately, unless you live in New York, Uber doesn’t provide child restraints for children, leaving the responsibility with the adult passenger.
If you don’t let Uber know a child will be travelling with you, they may refuse service on pick-up if you don’t supply your own child restraint and legally require one.
Ola states on its website that it’s up to the passenger to supply and fit a child restraint when using their service. The car seat must comply with South Australian laws and be fitted properly according to the manufacturer’s guide.
You’re in luck if you’re travelling with Shebah – an all-woman rideshare service providing safe transport for females and their children. They can provide restraints for the littlies on request, but you won’t be able to use your own.
They have dads covered too – if your child is travelling in a child restraint you can ride with Shebah as well.
Do the same rules apply interstate?
Each state has different rules surrounding child restraints in taxis and rideshare vehicles.
In NSW, children under 12 months old must be in an approved child restraint when travelling in a taxi.
At least 10% of the taxi fleet must be fitted with child restraints to make it possible to order a properly equipped taxi – but it is best to book in advance to make sure you don’t miss out
In Victoria, children under 12 months don’t have to be in a child restraint. They need to travel in the back seat and sit on the lap of an adult (not sharing the seatbelt).
With different laws for each state, it’s important to check with local providers before you catch a taxi or rideshare service.
Remember: child restraints considerably reduce the risk of injury in crashes so if the service you plan to use does not supply child restraints, then plan to use your own.