The rules around carrying children in a taxi can be a little tricky to get your head around – for both drivers and parents alike.

 

In a survey by Which?, 5,000 parents with children up to the age of 12 were asked whether they believed they could be fined if they don’t use a car seat for their own children when travelling in a taxi.

 

Parents were split: 39% thought it was true, while 41% thought it was false. One in five of the respondents said they don’t know.

 

So, if you’re a little confused about where the law stands on car seats, you can take some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.

 

But, as a taxi driver, it’s vital that you do know the rules and advise your passengers accordingly.

 

In this article, we’ll break down the law on child car seats in taxis, answering the following questions:

 

  • Do you need a child car seat in a taxi?
  • Should you consider buying a car seat for child passengers?
  • What safety benefits does a car seat have for children?

 

We’ll also highlight the importance of having good taxi insurance cover in place, whether you transport minors or not.

 

So, let’s get down to answering those important questions.

 

Do you need a child car seat in a taxi?

 

The law states that all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle must use the correct child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old (whichever comes first).

 

Once they exceed this, they must use an adult seat belt. The driver is responsible for ensuring that children under the age of 14 years are strapped in correctly in accordance with the law.

 

However, the law is a little bit more flexible when children are travelling in a taxi.

 

The law doesn’t insist that taxi firms provide child car seats. So, no fine will come your way if you’re unable to offer an age-appropriate child seat.

 

But, if your cab firm can’t provide a car seat for a baby or child, there are three safety rules you need to follow, in accordance with the law:

 

  1. A child can only travel in a taxi or private hire vehicle without a child car seat if he or she sits in the back.
  2. Children older than three years old must use the car’s adult seat belt.
  3. Children under three should not use a seat belt.

 

However, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises parents to book a different taxi – one that can provide child car seats – as opposed to travelling in one without any provisions. Which begs the question…

 

A young child in a car seat

Should you consider buying a car seat for child passengers?

 

There’s a strong argument for buying a car seat to ensure that when you’re transporting children, they are as safe as they can be.

 

As RoSPA suggests, some parents might refuse to use your service unless you provide the appropriate car seat for their children. So, investing in one could prove good for business, as much as anything else.

 

It also positions your taxi business as responsible as safety conscious in the eyes of your customers – never a bad thing.

 

The only drawbacks of providing a child car seat is the initial expense and knowing where to store it for convenience.

 

You might not be able to fit it in your vehicle’s boot and it may prove difficult to pick up multiple passengers with it in position all the time.

 

Buying a car seat

 

To accommodate children under three years old, you will need to invest in a rearward-facing baby seat that meets the R44 or R129 safety standards or a forward-facing child seat with an internal harness that meets R44 or R129.

 

Rear-facing baby seats should not be used in a seat fitted with a front airbag unless the airbag has been switched off.

 

But, don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a number of different car seats. There are car seats available today that can be adjusted so that they can be used from nine months to 12 years.

 

A baby strapped into a car seat

What safety benefits does a car seat have for children?

 

Car seats are designed to protect vulnerable children from crash injuries in case of a road traffic collision. They do this through a number of safety features including:

 

  • Protective shell, head support and padding.
  • Semi-supine position (45-degree recline angle to provide good support for a baby's head and neck).
  • Secured to the vehicle via a seat belt or base.

 

Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident, but they can and do happen, regardless of how safe a driver you are.

 

Babies’ bodies are different from adults’, as they’re not fully developed.

 

They can suffer severe injuries to their neck, spine and internal organs from the force of a crash, especially if they’re not strapped in properly or are in the wrong car seat.

 

With this in mind, the safety experts advise that children are kept rearward-facing for as long as possible – at least until they’re four years old.

 

That’s because in a rear-facing child car seat, the seat shell will act as a protective shield and absorb the impact energy.

 

The forces of the impact are spread over the whole large area of the child’s back, neck and head, thereby significantly less strain is put on the child’s neck.

 

If you do invest in a child car seat, ensure that you’re comfortable installing it every time.

 

Get taxi insurance to maximise your income and minimise risk

 

To transport passengers in your taxi, you’ll need to take out specialist taxi insurance to meet your legal obligations as a road user as ordinary car insurance won’t be valid.

 

Here at Taxi Insurer, we can help you find a taxi insurance policy that suits your needs.

 

We can work out a payment plan to make the monthly costs manageable alongside all your other business expenses.

 

Some of the benefits of arranging cover through Taxi Insurer can include:

 

  • Unique rates for public and private hire vehicles
  • Interest-free payment plans
  • Low deposits
  • Public Liability cover
  • Employer’s Liability cover

 

With Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft, and Third party only cover available, get a quick quote for taxi insurance today.

 

Call our friendly team with your registration number and driving licence and find the cover that’s right for you.

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