Can You Uber With Baby? What to Know When Ridesharing With Little Ones
With all the wonder and joy they bring, babies have a way of making even the simplest of tasks a bit more—shall we say—adventurous. And often, these “adventures” can quickly upgrade to challenges. If you’re navigating travel with baby in tow, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Whether you’re taking a trip across town or to a new city, calling a cab is often the easiest way to get around. In the modern era of ridesharing, this begs the question: Can you Uber with baby? The answer isn’t exactly straightforward and it varies based on location, availability and your personal level of comfort. But in the event you need a ride, we’ve gathered guidance from experts and industry-leading services to set you up on the road to rideshare success.
In this article:
Can you take a rideshare with baby?
Does Uber have car seats?
Does Uber require car seats for babies and toddlers?
How to request an Uber with car seat
Other options for rideshares with kids
Challenges of taking a rideshare with baby
Tips for taking a rideshare with baby
There’s no doubt that rideshare apps and services have made traveling distances big and small easier. But can you take a rideshare with baby? In short, yes, you can—but there are some pretty big caveats.
In certain cities, the ridesharing service Uber offers Uber Car Seat rides made especially for parents on the go. Uber Car Seat is currently only available for use in New York City and Los Angeles. Lyft also offers a car seat option in New York City only. Outside of these bigger rideshare services, there are smaller niche services that are available in a larger variety of cities that cater specifically to families.
However, even in cities where Uber or Lyft car seats are available, they can be notoriously difficult to come across. Alisa Baer, MD, board-certified pediatrician, nationally certified child passenger safety instructor and co-founder of The Car Seat Lady, notes that Uber Car Seats are often unavailable or unreliable at best: “Parents should have a contingency plan for what happens if a car seat isn’t available either when they request it at the start of the trip or when they’re returning. Can someone pick you up? Can you walk home?” She tells parents to know that “you might get it, you might not.” So you need to be mentally—and physically—prepared.
Uber recently partnered with Nuna to outfit all of its Uber Car Seat rides with car seats from the trusted brand. The new partnership ensures that babies can safely rideshare from birth up until the time they weigh 65 pounds.
Not only are all Uber Car Seat vehicles equipped with Nuna car seats, but according to Uber, each Uber Car Seat driver is trained by SafeKids WorldWide to properly install and secure the seat.
That said, Baer recommends that parents familiarize themselves with the Nuna Rava car seat ahead of time. “Parents should be watching the videos that Nuna has put for both parents and drivers so that they’re familiar with what they’re getting and how they can install it as quickly and correctly as possible.”
Baer says that it can be difficult to quickly check if your car seat is installed correctly, even if you’ve familiarized yourself with the model ahead of time. The Nuna Rava, in particular, is prone to twisted straps, she notes. “Parents will want to familiarize themselves with the ‘triangle trick,’ which is a method for untwisting the straps,” she says. “So when they get to this Uber car seat that most likely has twisted straps, they can untwist them.”
Lyft Car Seat rides are outfitted with IMMI Go car seats, which are forward-facing. These car seats aren’t suitable for children under 2 years old. To ride in a Lyft car seat, your child must be between 31 and 52 inches in height, and between 22 and 48 pounds in weight.
Does Uber Require Car Seats for Babies and Toddlers?
Uber, Lyft and other rideshare service providers won’t allow you to ride in a car with baby without a car seat. Uber specifically requires that all passengers under 15 months be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
Requesting an Uber or Lyft car seat is simple. Simply plug your destination into the app, and then scroll down the list of services to see if a car seat model is available. Both Uber and Lyft charge an additional $10 per ride for car seat services.
Because rideshares with car seats are still relatively uncommon, it’s a good idea to try to schedule your ride ahead of time to ensure a car seat-equipped car will be available when you’re planning to travel. To plan ahead and schedule your ride, simply follow the same instructions, and instead hit “schedule for a future time.”
Uber and Lyft aren’t the only rideshare services in the game. If you want to travel without a car seat in tow, but would like to take a car service to your next destination, other niche companies are available to provide car seats and other safety items you may need.
Kid Car offers local rides, airport travel and kid carpool services in over 12 cities across the United States. Moreover, they can provide up to three convertible car seats for any ride suitable for babies and kids between 5 and 120 pounds. Kid Car car seats are New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) crash tested and are installed by drivers using either lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) systems or with the seatbelt.
Heading to California or Arizona? Kango is a similar service that provides car seats for babies and kids. The service is typically used for local kid pick up and drop off when parents are busy with work or other engagements. However, Kango requires parents with children under 2 years of age to ride along on trips.
Ubering with baby isn’t without its challenges. Outside of limited city coverage, parents often report that Uber Car Seat drivers are sparse on the ground and difficult to book in the moment. While scheduling rides ahead of time helps, results can still be mixed with drivers occasionally showing up without car seats already installed or canceling at the last minute.
Finding a car seat for newborns or babies younger than 2 years old can be even more difficult. Lyft only offers forward-facing car seats meant for children 22 pounds and up. While Uber has transitioned over to Nuna Rava convertible car seats that are a fit for smaller children, there are still some drivers with legacy car seats who haven’t made the transition yet.
If you plan to take a rideshare with baby, it’s best to plan ahead, allotting time to find an Uber Car Seat and to communicate with your driver about your specific needs. Once your ride arrives, you also want to take time to make sure the car seat is properly installed and that baby is buckled in safely.
Child passenger safety instructor and Chicco car seat advocate Courtney Barry says there are several things you should keep in mind when taking a rideshare or Ubering with baby:
- Consider the big two. If you’re taking an Uber car seat or rideshare with an unfamiliar car seat for the first time, there are two important safety measures you can check on the fly. First: Is it level? Look at the indicator on the car seat, especially if it’s rear-facing. Next: Is it tight? Grasp at the belt path and check to see if the car seat moves less than an inch side to side and back and forth. Beyond “the big two” you can do a deep dive into what you need to know about car seat safety here.
- Ensure the perfect fit. Adjusting a new car seat to fit baby is important to make sure baby arrives safely. When your child is rear-facing, the harness should be at or below their shoulders, and when they’re forward-facing, the harness should be at or above their shoulders. You shouldn’t be able to pinch any material at the shoulder.
- Practice installation. Remember to take your time and practice installing a seat or adjusting it to fit baby. Make sure you install the car seat tightly, and that it’s locked in place by using the car seat lock off or the seat belt retractor. Practice this installation with and without your child in the seat, so when it comes time to get into an Uber, you are ready.
- Communicate ahead of time with your driver. Whether you’re ordering an Uber with a car seat, or plan on bringing and installing your own car seat, it helps to give your driver a heads up that loading and unloading will take a little extra time with your little one.
- Know how to properly install the car seat using all methods. Be prepared to install your car seat with either the anchors or the seatbelt! Practice installation and removal ahead of time so you aren’t struggling and stressed in the moment.
Taking a rideshare or Uber with baby is possible, and with a little bit of planning and preparation, you and your little one can get to your desired destination safely and easily.
Alisa Baer, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician, nationally certified child passenger safety instructor and co-founder of The Car Seat Lady. The Car Seat Lady is a pediatrician-led group of car seat safety experts empowering parents with evidence-based vehicle and car seat research and recommendations to keep their kids safe.
Courtney Barry has been a Child Passenger Safety Instructor (CPST) for almost 20 years and currently serves as a Car Seat Advocate for Chicco. She supports families every day who are using Chicco car seats and gets to enhance car seat technicians' knowledge across the country to help ensure more children are being reached and are safer on the road.
Uber, Uber Car Seat FAQ
Lyft, Car Seat Mode
Safe Kids Worldwide, Car Seat Safety
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