12 Safety Tips for How to Travel with a Baby in a Taxi

How to travel with a baby in a taxi - Bring your own car seat

One of the most challenging aspects of traveling with babies or toddlers is the simple act of getting around! While we generally prefer to rent a car on our trips or take public transportation, we inevitably run into situations where a taxi cab is required

Looking back, we’ve taken taxis in countries as diverse as Malta, France, Morocco, Spain, and Norway. While each ride was not perfect, there are some basic tools at your disposal that can help you have a safe and relatively stress-free ride. 

In this post we’ll answer your burning question: How to travel with a baby in a taxi, both in the US and abroad. 

How to Travel with a Baby in a Taxi – 12 Safety Tips

How to travel with a baby in a taxi - make sure you bring your own car seat.
When possible, bring your own car seat when traveling with your infant or toddler

1. Bring Your Own Carseat

The safest way to take a taxi with a baby or young children is to travel with your own car seat. We know it can be a pain to drag one along, but it is worth it. We spent a month traveling in Malta, Spain, France, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland with two toddlers and brought our own car seats.

It was awful carrying them, our kids, and our luggage down the narrow streets of Paris. But in the end, it was worth keeping our kids safe. The peace of mind was worth the physical labor.

Make it easier by freeing up your hands with one of our Top Baby Carriers for Air Travel.

We brought old car seats that could take a beating. Most airlines will check them for free, so we just bring a roll of black contractor trash bags and wrap the car seat in a new bag each trip. It helps protect them and keeps them clean and dry. 

2. Understand Local Laws and Regulations

First and foremost, you should familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations. It may be a surprise, but taxis are exempt from car seat laws in many countries and US states. If you’ve ever been to New York City (NYC), you for sure have seen young kids hop in the rear seat of a cab without a car seat or seatbelt. 

Keep in mind, while the legal requirements may vary, a portable car seat is still a good idea!

SafeRide4Kids is a great resource for understanding child restraint laws in the United States. One thing you’ll notice is that these laws and regulations vary substantially from state to state. 

International laws can vary even more. For example, in the UK, a child can travel without a car seat IF the taxi driver did not provide him or her with one. If the child is over 3 years old, it must sit in the back and wear an adult safety belt. If it is under 3 years of age, it does not need a seatbelt. UK taxis are responsible for the car seat!

Rhino Car Hire has a great resource that lists car seat laws by country. 

For example, in Spain a car seat is required when your arrival is at an airport or outside the city. If you are traveling in a taxi with a baby or toddler in a city area, a child seat is not required. 

If you travel a lot, especially overseas, you are bound to run into a situation where you need to take a taxi and do not have access to an infant car seat for your baby. We did. But we tried to keep them to a minimum. 

3. Consider a Rideshare vs. Traditional Taxi Service

While traveling with a baby, you often will have an option to choose between a traditional taxi or a ride-share platform like Uber, Lyft, Etc.

Some ride-share companies have an option to request a car seat in the app, like Uber Car Seat, or communicate with your driver to see if they have one available. A little research can go a long way towards understanding your options.

Many major cities around the world have local ride-share companies that offer a range of services. For example, Paris has a number of local options, including Le Cab, that are worth looking into. Le Cab specializes in a higher quality cab ride and may be more helpful with toddlers or babies. 

Both Uber and Lyft’s terms of service do not allow driver’s to transport children without proper restraints. We have found that while this is true in theory, it is rarely followed by the drivers in practice. If you do run into a driver that follows the book, and you do not have the right car seat, they may cancel your ride. 

4. Understand Safety Options

Let’s face it. If you are traveling with a baby or toddler in a taxi, it is unlikely you will always have the correct child car seat with you. 

So what do you do if you do not have your child safety seat?

One option is to hold your infant on your lap and put the seatbelt around both of you. This is common in many forums, however not recommended.

If there is an accident, the baby will have the force of its body moving forward AND the force of your body pushing it into the adult seat belt. 

Another option is to just hold your baby without a seatbelt. While we have had to do this on occasion, we do not recommend it. It is nerve racking, and it is unlikely you will be able to hold onto your baby in a head-on collision. 

It is likely that at some point as a parent you will have to make a safety decision that is not ideal. That being said, it is always best to use your child’s car seat. As we discussed above, we almost always bring one with us.

“The use of seatbelts and child restraints is one of the most important actions that can be taken to prevent injury in a motor vehicle crash.” – World Health Organization (WHO)

To add weight to that statement, a recent WHO study showed that car seats reduce the need for hospitalization by 69% and the risk of death by 70% for small children.

The only time we ever went without a car seat and felt OK about it was on short trips in the city center where a car crash would happen at a slow speed. It did not make us feel great, but we made sure we sate in the back seat or middle back seat, spoke with the driver, and used our own seat belts. 

5. Call Taxi Company Ahead of Time

If you are planning on traveling with your baby in a taxi, then it is worth calling the taxi company ahead of time.

They may be able to arrange for a driver with a car seat to pick you up. This option will likely come with an added charge, but the safety and peace of mind is worth it. 

6. Purchase an Easy-to-install Car Seat

How to Travel with a toddler in a Taxi
We brought two different old carseats on our travels, one for an infant andone for a toddler.

If you do bring a car seat, make sure it is easy to install and can be installed in any vehicle quickly. Taxi drivers are notoriously impatient. 

If it is new to you, practice a couple of times so you get the hang of it. 

7. Practice At Home

If you are using a new child restraint, then practice at home. Try installing it on the driver’s side of your car. Try again on the passenger side. 

Do it while your kids are kicking and screaming, as this will best simulate traveling with children in real life!

8. Talk to your Taxi Driver

Taxi drivers are people too. If you are anxious or uncertain, talk to them. We’ve offered an extra cash tip if the driver was willing to slow down. 

Drivers are paid by how much distance they cover each night. So make it worth their while, and I guarantee they’ll keep you and your baby or toddler safe. 

9. Bring Plenty of Entertainment and Get Ready for a Mess

Kids get bored. Make sure your diaper bag or backpack has plenty to keep your baby or toddler busy in the taxi. 

It is inevitable that you will eventually spend an entire ride listening to your baby scream and cry. It happens. But most of the time you can distract them with treats, toys, or sounds to help keep them calm. 

Also, Kids are messy. If you are bringing snacks, try to bring snacks that are easy to eat and will not leave the taxi full of crumbs or smashed fruit. 

That being said, sometimes it is inevitable. If your kids are anything like ours, they like to wait until you are in a crowded place, on the train, or settling into your seat before doing their business.

Make sure you are ready for a blowout or a little throw up. Wipes and towels to the rescue!

10. Time it Right

Often you will not be able to choose when you will travel in a taxi. But if you can, try to avoid right before nap time or right after they ate. 

A little prevention can go a long way!

11. Stay Calm

This is probably the most important. Try to stay calm. Our kids often get their emotions from us, so if we are stressed, they will be too. 

If it is your first time taking a taxi with your baby or toddler, it is bound to be stressful. 

Just remember, it is just a taxi ride. It will soon be over, and you will be back to activities that your family is more comfortable with. 

12. Research other Transportation Options

If traveling in a Taxi with your baby is too stressful, research other transportation options. While they may be slower than your traditional black cab, it is quite possible they may be safer.

Other options include:

  • Hotel Shuttle Services
  • Rental Car
  • Public Transportation
  • Rideshare Services
  • Private Car

How to Travel with a Baby in a Taxi – Mistakes to Avoid

  • Strapping the child into a car seat without securing the car seat itself
  • When taking a taxi with a toddler, parents put the baby on their lap and “double belt”, running the lap belt around both of them
  • When taking a taxi with preschool or elementary school kids, parents let them use the regular seatbelt without a booster seat

None of these are safe options. The consequences can be dire and could potentially range from serious injury or death. Car seats add no additional security if they are not securely fastened to the seat. Babies can be crushed by their parents or slammed against the seat in front if they are jus theld in their lap. Finally, kids who are too young for seatbelts can suffer from “seat belt syndrome”, which can cause damage to internal organs.

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The Quill Family

We are the Quills! An ordinary family sharing our extraordinary travel experiences. 


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