I am a mother of a toddler, and I have lived in the U.K. for the last 20 years.
You are probably wondering whether you need a car seat for your child in a taxi or another private-hire vehicle. I wondered the same when I had to use a taxi in London. So let's talk about the different situations or questions you might be wondering about as it can be slightly variable.
Car Seats and Taxis or Uber
The law is (fortunately) clear in the U.K. at the moment. Generally, any child under 3 years old must be in a car seat, but there are some exceptions. According to the government website, if your taxi does not have an appropriate car seat, there is no legal requirement to use one but under some conditions:
Only if they travel on a rear seat:
- and wear an adult seat belt if they’re 3 or older
- without a seat belt if they’re under 3
So, you can't travel with the baby in the front seat in the taxi. The website also talks about vans and minibuses. Generally there is no legal requirement to use one if it is not available.
My own experience in London: if you are booking a private hire car or taxi over the phone, you can always ask if they could get you a car with a baby seat or child seat. I was able to get one when I called the company a few hours in advance.
Uber drivers have a private hire license as far as I understand and the same rules apply to them just like taxis. Note that with Uber, you could request a car with a seat if you choose UberX for an extra fee. I have not used this myself but you can check their website.
If You Are Traveling or Visiting London
I completely understand that for safety and comfort reasons, you might want to be in a taxi to go from one place to another when you are on holiday. However, if you have not been to London before, you might want to think again.
Although I think London is the best city in the world, it can do with wider roads and better design to reduce traffic. Traveling in a car in central London (where all the tourist areas and sights are), can be a very frustrating experience. Traffic is bad and cars are moving at low speeds.
London also has a great public transport network that is more reliable than many of the other big cities in Europe. If you and your child can do it, I would use public transport. There are a lot of options for access if you are using a pushchair and the Transport For London (tfl) website can help you plan a journey so you don't have to climb stairs. I use it all the time.
Can I bring my own car seat?
Of course you can! The question is whether you really want to travel with one or not, which is up to you. Keep in mind that with a lot of them you also need the base or adapter. I would imagine it to be much easier to get a seat that does not need a base that you can just secure using the seat belt. Also, the baby seats are lighter and smaller in size so easier to carry. If your car seat (below 12 months) can fit on your pushchair or pram then voila!
Child Car Seat Hire
Many places offers renting different types of seats if you don't want to travel with your own. This will obviously vary according to where you are. You can just do a quick google search about such service in the city or town you are visiting.
Car Hire With a Baby or Car Seat
Ok, I have also been in this situation recently. I was traveling and I needed to hire a car that had a car seat included. I did some research and contacted the main car rental companies:
- Enterprise: After calling them, they told me they do not offer car seats with any of their cars.
- Europcar: When you book your car, you can book some additional features like a Sat Nav or a child car seat of an appropriate age or weight. Unfortunately, this was not included and they charge between £5-£15 per day according to the type of seat.
- Other companies: Hertz or Sixt: Similar to Europcar, you can also rent one when you book, check their website for more details.
The only thing I would remind you when you do this, is to check the pick up and return times and make sure the branch is open on those times (the website should also warn you).
I hope that helps. Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions or if you would like to tell us about your own experience on child car seats while traveling.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Busy Mother
Busy Mother (author) on January 22, 2019:
Thanks a lot :)
Liz Westwood from UK on January 22, 2019:
This is a useful and interesting article for anyone travelling with young children.