7 rules to follow to safely install a car seat in a taxi in 45 seconds.
Planning a visit to the Greatest City in the World? While hailing a taxi on 5th Avenue with your newborn and strapping him into a car seat might seem daunting to a new mom, it only takes about 45 seconds to do it safely, according to The Car Seat Lady, aka NYC pediatrician Dr. Alisa Baer. Here's how:
Rule No. 1: Follow the laws of physics
It is legal to take your baby in a NYC taxi without a car seat — but that doesn't mean you should do it. "The laws of physics don't care about the laws of the state; your child needs a car seat in a car. Taxis are cars," Baer says. NEVER use a Baby Bjorn or other fabric carrier in lieu of a car seat — it's actually more dangerous than using nothing at all (however, it's safe to use a fabric carrier on the city bus or subway).
Rule No. 2: Select the right car seat & stroller
When taking taxis with your infant or young toddler, you'll want a rear-facing-only seat that YOU find convenient (so you don't leave the seat at home and jump in a taxi without a car seat). The car seat should be easy to install in the taxi and should fit on a stroller that is easy to lift in and out of the taxi trunk. Click HERE for Baer's car seat/stroller compatibility chart. Want your car seat to last as long as possible? Baer recommends choosing a rear-facing-only seat with a weight limit of at least 30 pounds.
Rule No. 3: Don't worry about the base
"The base is not a safety feature, just a convenience feature," Baer says. "So long as your carrier is properly installed, it's just as safe by itself as it is in the base."
Note: While in the past there were a few rear-facing-only seats that could not be installed without their base, all currently sold seats can be used with or without their base.
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Rule No. 4: Know how to install your seat without the base
Most rear-facing-only seats in the U.S. install very similarly when used without their base, as Baer shows here in this instructional video from the e-book Ready, Set, Baby! A few seats in the U.S. (and basically every seat in Europe) have a different routing path for the vehicle's seat belt when installing the carrier without the base. This European-style path — shown here in this instructional video — typically gives a much more secure installation and enhances the protection by allowing the back of the child's seat to absorb as much energy as possible. Baer recommends these seats, all of which have a European-style path: Cybex Aton & Aton2, Graco Snug Ride 35 Classic Connect, Nuna Pipa (coming out soon) and UPPAbaby Mesa.
Rule No. 5: Make sure YOU buckle up
Make sure EVERYONE in the taxi buckles up ... even adults in the back seat. Restrained passengers are up to three times more likely to die if a person in the back is not buckled up, Baer says.
Rule No. 6: Keep the door open
You might need a little extra help from your cabbie, so tipping him a dollar or two BEFORE you take off might buy you his patience at the very least. Plus, keep the door open until your little one is safely buckled, as closing the door is your driver's signal to drive off.
Rule No. 7: Have fun
"I strongly encourage people to take advantage of our city — just do it safely," Baer says. "Take a deep breath and you can do this in about 45 seconds." Click here for Baer's "Taxi Tip Sheet" for more great advice!