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 Uber passengers with small children, as well as what you should know about traveling with your children in an Uber.
What Is Uber Car Seat?
Uber Car Seat is a program available in select cities to Uber passengers with children who need car seats. Depending on the city, the program guarantees either an UberX or UberBLACK 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 Uber Car Seat 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 Uber Car Seat drivers to use certain approved car seats, but they have more car seats available and less hands-on training in how to install them.
In Orlando, for example, drivers can choose from 15 different car seats (though Uber does offer them a coupon to encourage using the IMMI Go). Therefore, you should always verify that the car seat is safely installed (and that your child is properly buckled into it) before your ride begins.
Where Is Uber Car Seat Available?
Uber Car Seat is currently available in the following cities:
- New York City, NY
- Washington, D.C.
- Philadelphia, PA
- Orlando, FL
Within each of these cities, Uber Car Seat is available in different types of rides.
In NYC, for example, car seats are available in UberX rides. In Philadelphia, however, car seats are only available in UberBLACK rides, which means a higher price tag. And in some markets, such as Orlando, you have the choice of an UberX, UberBLACK, or UberSUV with a car seat.
You’ll be able to view the specific options for your city when you open the Uber app.
Here are the current options for each city:
- New York — Car seats available in UberX rides.
- D.C. — Car seats available in UberX, UberBLACK, and UberSUV rides.
- Philadelphia — Car seats available in UberBLACK and UberSUV rides.
- Orlando — Car seats available in UberX, UberBLACK, and UberSUV rides. Note that Uber Car Seat pickups are only available in the following specific locations:
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Walt Disney World
- Universal Studios
- Four Corner Resorts
- Sea World
- International Drive
- Florida Mall
Do note, however, that in most cases you’ll need to swipe to the left a couple times to see the car seat vehicles; they are not visible on the default screen. To show you what this looks like in practice, here’s how to book an Uber Car Seat ride in Orlando:
1. Open the Uber app and enter your pickup and dropoff locations.
For this example, we’re using an imaginary ride between the Orlando International Airport and the Hyatt Regency Orlando. If you need a more detailed guide to taking your first Uber ride, check out our comprehensive guide to using Uber.
2. Swipe left until you find the option you want.
In this case, you need to swipe to the left two times to view the car seat options. You’ll be able to see an estimate of the fare before you book.
3. Tap the “Request” button to book your ride.
How Much Does Uber Car Seat Cost?
As with most conveniences, Uber Car Seat comes at an extra cost. The precise cost varies from city to city, as well as the type of ride you select. For UberX trips with a car seat, you’ll pay a $10 surcharge, according to Uber’s website.
However, new Uber riders in NYC can waive this fee on their first Uber 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.
Uber Car Seat FAQ
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, Uber Car Seat is only available in the four markets we discussed above, 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.
That being said, it’s courteous to call the Uber 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 Uber Car Seat 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?
Uber Car Seat 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.” However, 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.
We hope this guide has helped you understand how to use Uber Car Seat, 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 Uber service.