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Child safety seat laws: Do you need a child seat in taxis?

United States researchers from the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York say that small children in New York City commonly ride in taxis without a car safety seat. This is putting them at serious risk of injury, the researchers say, and those injuries could often be fatal.

Even though all 50 states have safety seat requirements for young children, a lot of cities and municipalities offer exemptions to taxi-riding children. In big cities like New York, where many families don't even own a car and sometimes a taxi is the only way to get from A to B, this means that there are numerous children at risk of being hurt due to not riding in a safety seat.

The law in NewYork City, for example, is clear: Drivers operating yellow medallion taxis and drivers of vehicles for hire -- along with their passengers -- will be exempt from any laws requiring seat belts and car seats. That said, passengers and drivers are encouraged by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to use safety belts. Furthermore, parents are encouraged to bring their own child safety seats along with them when riding in a taxi with their children.

When the law does not require drivers and passengers to do something that will clearly and exponentially increase their chances of staying safe and avoiding fatal injuries in a car accident, it is time to either change the law so that it becomes a requirement, or follow the recommended way of doing the thing as safely as possible. In this situation, until laws are updated to require child safety seats in New York City taxis, it is hoped that parents will do the right thing and bring a safety seat for their children whenever they ride in a taxi.

Unfortunately, children get hurt in car accidents every day in New York City. If you have a child hurt in a car crash due to no fault of your own, you may have the ability to seek financial restitution in court from the party or parties responsible for the crash.

Source: HealthDay, "Even in Taxis, Kids Belong in Safety Seats," accessed Jan. 09, 2017

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