The State of New York makes it very easy to get around with the rails and bus system but when you are visiting New York City with heavy luggage and a toddler, things may not seem quite so easy.
This is where a taxi or car service with a professionally installed car seats will come in handy for you. You grab a taxi from the airport (or wherever in New York you are) and it takes you to where you need to go. It is very convenient but there is one problem.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicle brochure states that “seat belt use is not required in taxis or livery vehicles” but it does encourages parents (and legal guardians) to bring their own car seats.
A child who is under seven (7) years old is allowed it sit in your lap even though this is not effective especially if you are not wearing your seat belt as well for the trip. You child may want to kick and scream in the seat but it is always a good idea to use some sort of protection no matter the age of your child as your driver can do his or her best to get you safely to your destination only to be struck by another vehicle during the trip. With stolen vehicles trying to outrun local police, it is best to keep yourself and little one protected.
For safety, do not utilize one seat belt restraint for you and your toddler. Doing so, your body will aid in crushing your toddler in an accident (or sudden stop by the driver) as the toddler will be acting as a cushion for you in between the straps.
When selecting a car seat, it should be a “federally-approved child safety seat” that can be “attached to a safety belt or universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system.”
Currently, there are four basic types of child safety seats available: infant, convertible, forward-facing only and booster. The car seat you should use depends upon the weight and height of the child. It is very important to read the child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use.
Most mothers when they a planning to travel to or from New York use one of these portable car seats.
Once you purchase your federally-approved child safety seat, practice installing it into a vehicle as this will help you to save time in installing it into a taxi so you do not incur any long waiting times from the driver.
If you do not have a car of your own, see if your neighbour or local car dealership will let you do so, especially in a vehicle used often by taxis and livery companies.
If you are heading to the State of New York by plane, you will not be able to use your portable car seats on the flight unless it is FAA approved and displaying a sticker. If it is FAA approved but missing the sticker, the flight attendant may restrict you from using it on the flight. If your child safety seat is valid for the flight, please use it during takeoff, landing and during turbulence on the flight.
While in New York, should you need to use the subway to supplement your trip with the taxi cab or taxi cabs refrain from stopping since they see your car seat, please note that the subways are equipped with a “service entry gate” should you have a stroller as well. Please take care in using the service entry gate and heed the “service entry gate” instructions to avoid an expensive fare evasion fine from the MTA Police.
For options in the air on your flight, please see KidsFlySafe.com and ToteATot.com for products to carry a piece of rolling luggage, a car seat, bottles, diapers and other necessities – in just one hand!
Join us in our New York Forum if you have any comments or questions.