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Uber is the ideal transportation option for anyone who lives an on-the-go, busy life. Just pull out your phone, tap a few buttons, and a car will appear at your destination within minutes.
Yet as convenient as Uber is, how does the service work if you’re traveling with young children? Does the company have options in place to help with the needs of families? Specifically, is it possible to order an Uber ride with the car seat necessary to keep your children safe?
In this post, we’ll examine what car seat options are available to passengers with small children, as well as what you should know about traveling with your children in an Uber.
- What Is Uber Car Seat?
- Where Is Uber Car Seat Available?
- How to Book an Uber Ride With a Car Seat
- How Much Does Uber Car Seat Cost?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Uber Car Seat?
Uber Car Seat is a program available to passengers with children who need car seats. The program guarantees an UberX car equipped with one forward-facing car seat. These seats fit children who are at least:
- 12 months old AND
- 22 pounds AND
- 31 inches
Children who are 48 pounds or 52 inches are too big for the car seats that Uber provides.
Beyond these general details, the specifications of the car seat will vary from city to city and driver to driver. When Uber first rolled out the program in 2014, participating drivers all used the IMMI Go car seat. Dr. Alisa Baer, M.D., author of child vehicle safety blog The Car Seat Lady instructed drivers in how to properly install and use the car seats.
Since then, however, standards have become a bit broader. Uber still requires participating drivers to use certain approved car seats, but they have more car seats available and less hands-on training on how to install them.
Where Is Uber Car Seat Available?
Currently, taking an Uber with a car seat already in it is only available in New York City.
Previously, the service was available to customers in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Orlando. As of this writing, however, Uber has discontinued the car seat service in these markets. We were not able to determine why, although we imagine it had to do with either a lack of popularity or a lack of interest on the part of drivers.
How to Book an Uber Ride With a Car Seat
Curious how this service works in practice? Here’s how to book a ride with a car seat in NYC:
1. Open the Uber app and enter your pick-up and drop-off locations.
For this example, we’re using an imaginary ride between the Plaza Hotel and Central Park, two iconic New York City destinations. (If you need a more detailed guide to taking your first ride, check out our comprehensive guide to using Uber.)
2. Swipe up until you find the option you want.
In order to view car seat options, you’ll need to swipe up and find the Car Seat ride option. You’ll be able to see a price estimate before you book.
3. Tap the “Confirm Car Seat” button to book your ride.
How Much Does Uber Car Seat Cost?
As with most conveniences, an Uber with a car seat already in it comes at an extra cost. For UberX trips with a car seat, you’ll pay a $10 surcharge, according to Uber’s website.
However, new riders in NYC can waive this fee on their first Car Seat ride by using the code CARSEATNYC10. To add the code, follow these steps:
1. Open the Uber app and go to the “Payment” menu.
2. Tap “Add Promo Code.”
3. Enter the code.
4. Tap “Add” to apply the code.
Alternatively, you can sign up to ride with Uber using this link to have the code automatically applied to your account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you understand the basics of what Uber Car Seat is and how to use it, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions surrounding the service.
1. When will Uber Car Seat be available in my city?
Currently, an Uber with a car seat is only available in New York City, and the company has not revealed any plans to launch it in other cities. The best way to stay updated is to check your Uber app regularly or follow the Uber Newsroom.
2. Can I bring my own car seat into an Uber?
Yes, you can, as long as your car seat can fit safely into the vehicle. Drivers are required to allow you to do this and cannot discriminate against you for bringing children or car seats on your ride. This is true regardless of your city.
That being said, it’s courteous to call the driver once you’ve requested the ride to make sure that your car seat(s) will safely fit. The driver will also appreciate the notice so that they can park in an area where you can safely load and unload the car seat.
3. Are rides with multiple car seats available?
Currently, only one car seat (fitting the specifications we discussed above) is available for these specialized Uber rides. However, you can bring additional car seats provided they fit safely in the vehicle.
4. How do I know if my child needs a car seat?
The precise requirements vary depending on state laws. We recommend that you consult this guide from AAA to find out your state’s specific laws regarding the booster, seat belt, and car seat ages.
5. Where can I learn more about proper car seat installation and safety?
When you get into an Uber Car Seat ride (or bring your own car seat with you), you want to ensure that you’re installing it and buckling your child into it in the safest way possible.
For an overview of all types of car seat safety, as well as how to transport children safely in your vehicle, we recommend the guides available from The Car Seat Lady.
6. How can I drive for Uber Car Seat?
This Uber option has stricter requirements than the standard Uber service. You’ll need to maintain a high driver rating (as close to 5.0 as possible), and you’ll need to have an approved car seat. If Uber Car Seat is available in your city, you’ll likely receive emails inviting you to drive for the service if there is a demand (as long as you have a high enough rating).
Note, however, that space to drive for the service is limited, so having even a perfect driver rating won’t guarantee your eligibility.
7. Does Lyft have a similar service?
Yes, Lyft has a service called “Car seat mode.” This ride type is only available in New York City at the moment. They use the same IMMI Go car seats that Uber uses for its NYC Car Seat trips, and they also charge the same $10 surcharge. Learn more on the Lyft website.
Take an Uber With Your Little One
We hope this guide has helped you understand how to use Uber Car Seat ride service, as well as the steps you can take to keep your child safe while riding in Ubers across the world. Hopefully Uber will expand the Car Seat service to other cities soon, as it gives families both peace of mind and greater mobility when using the service.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.