Let's have a look at what the law says in regards to under three's travelling with no child car seat:
"All children under the age of 12 years old or 135cm must travel in an appropriate child restraint.
Exceptions for children under 3 years of age:
May travel unrestrained in the rear of a taxi or private hire vehicle."
There are no other exceptions that apply to under 3s. If you have to get three children in your car, they must all be in a suitable child car seat. It is also vital that the child car seat fit into the car and are fitted correctly. If you can't get three suitable child car seats in the car, the children cannot travel in the car.
Over 3s may travel in the rear of the car, and must wear the adult seat belt in the following situations:
Children’s car seats are chosen by their weight and height, over their age, as children are all so different. To use a booster seat they must weigh a minimum of 15kg and fit within the adult seat belt correctly when using the booster – the lap belt must be flat on their lap, across their hips and the chest belt must run from their hip to their shoulder. However, harness car seats can be used until a child weighs 18kg, or until their eyes are level with the top of the car seat, and children are much safer staying in the lower stage seat as long as possible – until fully outgrown.
If you do use a booster, we always recommend to use one with a back that has deep, padded side wings. This not only give the child some protection from side impacts, but it also helps route the adult belt correctly and gives them torso support.
This is something I have come across as well, where sadly the law is misunderstood.
I think the safest thing to do, is to take away the law that states your allowed to use a Taxi without a car seat. There's nothing special about a Taxi, it's just like any other car, it makes 0 sense to me that the law is like that. It's not safe at all.
The taxi exception isn't a case of safety but of practicality. It is unsafe, and it's best to use a car seat if you can but sometimes it's just not possible.
Taxis can't carry car seats for all ages of children at all times just in case because this would be impractical and there might always be a situation where the number of child passengers is higher than the number of car seats available, meaning there would have to be a need for an exemption, which would mean that taxi drivers could get around the law ordinarily. Many taxis contain built in booster seats and some black cabs have rear facing seats which are a safer (still not safe, but less risky) option to seat young children on laps.
Taxis are often away from the depot when they are hired meaning that it is impractical to expect car seats to be stored at the depot for pick up.
Passengers can't be expected to have seats available at all times because many taxi journeys are unplanned, and because taxis transport people to and from places where it would be impractical for the passenger to keep hold of the car seat, unlike when you drive your own car and can just leave the seat in the car.
In short, it's necessary for taxis to have an exemption partly because it would be extremely difficult to enforce such a law and partly because there are situations where a person travelling with children needs to get somewhere they cannot go on foot or by public transport and it doesn't make sense for a taxi to be denied just because they don't have a car seat and it might also be impossible for them to acquire a car seat from where they are. You could write all of this into the exemption, but it doesn't make sense to write extremely detailed legislation which nobody can understand especially when the number of taxis involved in car accidents is vastly smaller than the number of cars.
Thank you for your comment!
It would indeed be very difficult for Taxi drivers to keep a variety of seats with them. Additionally, it would be difficult for them to know what stage seat a child should be in, and the seat would need to be adjusted each time to suit the child.
Have you read our blog on iSize? This is part of a new car seat regulation, which makes choosing and fitting car seats much easier!
The Good Egg Team
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