Ridesharing with Children: Can I Bring My Child in an Uber or Lyft?

Ridesharing with Children: Can I Bring My Child in an Uber or Lyft?

Gone are the days of needing to subway-hop or take a lengthy bus ride to reach your destination. In most parts of the country, transportation has become a breeze thanks to rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft – access the app, jump into your ride, and with the snap of a finger, you’ve arrived.

Unfortunately, this reality isn’t so simple for families with babies or small children. These ridesharing companies are still figuring out how to become more family-friendly, but they’re not quite there yet.

As for ridesharing with children, especially smaller kids, here’s a look at some of the guidelines from each company:

Required Seating when Ridesharing with Children

By now, we know that securing your child in a car seat is extremely important for their safety.  According to AAA, car seats can reduce the risk of injury by 71-to-82 percent. In addition, they reduce the risk of death by 28 percent when compared to children who are protected by only seat belts alone. Thankfully, both Uber and Lyft require that families with small children use a car seat.

While cars in the standard service do not come equipped with a seat, you can bring and install your own. Unfortunately, in many cases this is inconvenient. After all, you will need to carry the seat once you reach your destination.

Family Services Available Through Uber and Lyft

Fortunately, Uber and Lyft both have family-friendly services. However, each are limited to certain regions or cities. For instance, Uber Car Seat (or Uber Family, depending on the location) is available in Philadelphia, NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore, Orlando, Istanbul, Cluj and Bucharest. Lyft Car Seat is only available in New York City.

As part of their car seat programs, both services provide a car that already has a children's car seat installed.  This is great for families with children who are at least one year old or are 22 to 48 pounds and 31 to 52 inches long.  This is because the available seats are all forward-facing car seats. If your child is younger than one year old and doesn’t meet the weight and height requirements, you will still need to bring your own seat.

Added Costs of Ridesharing with Children

An additional surcharge is added for the use of either family ridesharing with children service.  While these programs provide a great service, you do have to pay for these accommodations. For Uber Car Seat (or Uber Family), $10 is added to the cost of your ride. When using Lyft Car Seat, you will pay an extra $8.98 beyond the standard rate.

Alternate Option: Taxis

Uber and Lyft have made our collective lives easier. That said, an old standby is still an excellent option: taxis.  Many cab companies will provide a car seat for you if you call in advance.  Just as with Uber and Lyft, you can usually choose to bring your own as well. 

For taxis, the rules for car seats vary quite a bit depending on your location. Some cities don’t require a car seat, while others will fine you for not having your child properly secured in one. If you are traveling, you may want to look up the guidelines for your destination city.

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