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March 3, 2021
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News + Views

Cabs: Unsafe for Kids?

By Lisa M. Collins
Taxi Cabs: Safe for children?
Photo by Joshua Kristal

You want taxis safer for kids? You are not alone, and this is your chance to make your voice heard.

I’m a nervous nelly when it comes to riding in cars, cabs in particular, and most definitely, cabs speeding through city traffic with my 4-year-old riding in my lap. It’s the strangest thing that it’s illegal — and the social equivalent of giving liquor to a toddler — to ride with babies or small children in cars without a car seat; yet in New York City we close our eyes and zip about in cabs when necessity calls, with kids and babies unrestrained.

In New York City, in 2000 (the most recent year for which data are available), 2,600 children were injured in 17,000 taxi-related accidents, according to the group Car Seat Lady, which is lobbying the city to take measures to make cabs safer for kids. Studies show that NYC taxi passengers are 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than the passengers in the other vehicle involved in the crash.

Car Seat Lady, which operates in New York City and Baltimore, advocates for vehicle safety and car seats for kids. The group is meeting on Friday, April 15 with the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission to discuss the safety of kids riding in NYC taxis.

The group is asking parents to fill out a survey, to make your thoughts on the issue.

Namely, the group is looking at models for the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” the city’s new modern vehicle that will replace the yellow cab for ten years. Car Seat Lady wants the city to design the taxi “so that kids can ride as SAFELY as possible in a way that is as CONVENIENT as possible for parents,” according to a posting by the group organizers, Alisa Baer, a pediatrician and car seat expert from the West Village, and Emily Levine, of the Upper West Side/Morningside Heights area, otherwise known as the “Car Seat Ladies.”

And for those who read Freakonomics, which questioned the necessity of car seats, there’s a whole discussion on the matter here:

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