How do you install a car seat in a taxicab?
If you’re not going to hold your baby in your arms while riding in your own car, you’re certainly not going to do it while zooming around New York City in a yellow cab. Cabs in some states are legally exempt from car seat laws that apply to regular cars, but it doesn’t matter – your kid isn’t safe without a proper car seat! That means taking your infant car seat along for the ride, and learning how to install it without the base.
Let’s start by choosing the right infant car seat. While all seats currently on the market in the US can be installed without their base and therefore can be used in a taxi, the experts recommend the European-style belt path, which you’ll see on all of the seats Chelsea from Magic Beans Boston recommends in her recent blog on the Best Infant Car Seats of 2016. The Euro path is considered easier to use, and provides a safer ride, according to Kecia at Car Seat Blog:
“When the shoulder belt is routed behind the shell of a rear-facing child restraint it helps to maintain a semi-upright position during a frontal crash. Limiting the downward rotation that a rear-facing seat makes during a frontal crash has several potential benefits. Maintaining a more upright angle during a crash means the impact loads are distributed more to the back of the child – which is ideal. The more a rear-facing seat rotates downward in a crash the more the impact loads are applied to the child’s shoulders and neck – as it stretches, pulling away from the body. The other potential benefit of maintaining a more upright orientation during a crash is that it may reduce the likelihood of the carseat striking the back of the front seat or console directly in front of it.”
If you’re planning on taking a trip where a taxi (or Uber, or Zipcar) is necessary, you’ll want to practice base-free installation! In the follow video, Dr. Alisa Baer, The Car Seat Lady, shows you how it’s done – the video itself is 5 minutes long, but the actual steps you’ll need to take to do the installation are pretty quick. Dr. Baer says you should be able to get it done safely in under a minute!
Dr. Baer recommends the Nuna Pipa and the Cybex Aton 2 for a baseless install.
Your stroller choice is also important: this is one situation in which having a travel system setup will really help. As we’ve said before, you don’t need to purchase your stroller and infant car seat together, and they don’t need to be the same brand, either – you can choose the stroller and car seat you like best and join them together with an infant car seat adapter. A stroller that’s lightweight and easy to fold will serve you well when you need to tuck it into the cab’s trunk and get moving.