We all are well aware that car seats for the little ones are mandatory in North America and trust me I have no problem with it. It’s just sad that those car seats do not look comfy…especially the infant ones. Safety first though. As most of you know I don’t drive and being hardcore city dwellers we don’t own a car either. By foot or public transportation is our preferred method of mobility.
That said we do take cabs on rare occasions. This week our family has the lovely pleasure of hosting a good friend of ours and her precious bundle of joy and the topic of a car seats when travelling in Toronto arose. I enjoyed travelling sans pram or car seat but we did take the car seat on our recent trip to Newfoundland (even though on arrival we found out that you can request for a taxi with a car seat there). In Toronto that is unfortunately not the case.
Having called the main Taxi companies I was given some contradicting information, most of them stated that their fleets don’t have car seats and that since a taxi is public transportation, very similar to the TTC street cars and buses, there was no legal requirement for infant passengers to be in a car seat in a taxi. That said, in case of an accident the onus is on the parents and neither the taxi driver nor the cab company are responsible. One company highlighted that in the event of being stopped by the Traffic Police the parents would be fined (not the driver nor the company), however, not once have any of their 2000 odd cars been stopped before.
The questions still remained : Is it legally allowed to travel in a Taxi without a car seat ? Is it a fineable offence to take your child in a taxi without a car seat? I decided to call the City of Toronto’s Licensing Services : Municipal Licensing and Standards administrative offices. After a thirty minute wait I finally got my answer from a very helpful lady. She informed me that NO you do not need a car seat in a taxi but it is ofcourse encouraged. It is not a fineable offence but the passengers are liable in case of any emergencies.
So there you have your answer… legally you do not need a car seat… but it is ofcourse in everyone’s best interest to have one since we’ve all been chauffeured by a crazy cabby in Toronto. Me…in a bind I would strap myself to the Bjorn like I did in India, Paris and London.