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These days it’s getting easier for parents to plan urban vacations thanks to ride share services like Lyft. But there are lots of questions about managing the Lyft – car seat combination! In this article I’ll give you all the info you need to prepare for your trip. We’ll cover:
- Can Lyft take kids? Is Lyft kid friendly?
- Can you ride Lyft without a car seat?
- Am I allowed to install a car seat in a Lyft? What’s the best car seat for Lyft?
- Does Lyft have car seats? Where is Lyft car seat mode available?
Can Lyft take kids? Is Lyft kid-friendly?
Absolutely! We have used ride shares in many countries. We generally find the drivers to be more patient than regular taxi drivers, probably because they know they’ll be receiving a review from us after the ride. Lyft is perfect if you’re planning a car-free family vacation – check out our favorite ideas.
Lyft is especially kid-friendly because you can specify the (rough) size of car that meets your needs. If you only have one child or your kids are old enough to use these or these, a regular Lyft will suffice. Got a bunch of kids in car seats and lots of luggage? The Plus size is sure to fit everyone comfortably!
Read more: Taking Uber with kids + car seats
Do kids need car seats in Lyft?
Some states, cities and countries treat Lyft like a taxi (often shockingly exempt from passenger safety rules) while others treat Lyft like a private car (subject to the same rules as in your own car). And sometimes local laws haven’t yet addressed using ride sharing services with kids!
Before you travel anywhere with a car seat age child, make sure to search online for the destination and “Lyft car seat laws” or “Lyft child seat rules”, but sometimes even that isn’t straightforward. Here’s a helpful breakdown of Lyft laws by state, though it’s only as clear as the local laws themselves.
If you’re visiting a jurisdiction where ride share cars have to comply with local car seat laws, Lyft’s policy requires you to provide a car seat that complies with local rules. In some places you’ll need a seat that rear-faces your child until 2 years old and in some places you’ll even need a highback booster for your school-age child – do your research before you go.
Can you take Lyft without a car seat?
The Lyft car seat policy is that parents are responsible for bringing a car seat if their child needs it based on their age and local law. Drivers are allowed to reject a ride if you don’t have a car seat. You’ll even be charged a cancellation fee for the ride. Yes, many unprepared parents have been left standing on the curb by drivers who don’t want the liability of transporting a young child unsafely.
Of course, it’s extremely unsafe to take your child in any car without a car seat until they pass the “5 step test” – around 10-12 for most kids. The laws of physics don’t change just because you’re in a ride share!
Bringing your own car seat for Lyft
Fortunately there are plenty of awesome lightweight car seats for travel and even folding car seats that are easy to bring with you for flights or a day in the city. If you are riding Lyft with a baby, it’s hard to beat the Doona infant car seat as the perfect Lyft infant car seat!
Lyft drivers are often more patient about car seat installation than traditional taxi drivers, probably because they know we’ll be rating them after the trip. They also don’t have the same exemption from car seat laws that taxis have. Still, they may not know what car seat installation entails. One trick is to leave the car door open until you’re done installing the car seat and buckling your child in. You can be pretty sure no one is going to drive off until all of the doors are closed! Learn how to install your car seat quickly.
If you have multiple kids in car seats and the driver’s seat is all the way back, don’t be sheepish about asking him to slide forward if possible. Whether you’re installing a car seat or not, everyone deserves leg room!
Make sure you have practiced multiple ways to install your car seat. While LATCH might be most convenient, sometimes it’s not available in every seating position (or at all in some countries). Get comfortable installing your car seat with a seatbelt as well, just in case. If you’re leaving the US you may encounter seatbelts that don’t lock when you pull them all the way out, so bring a locking clip and learn how to use it (read more about seatbelt locking clips).
What’s the best car seat for Lyft?
- Doona infant car seat (birth – 1 year old)
- Combi Coccoro or Cosco Scenera NEXT DLX convertible car seats (1 – 2 years old)
- Wayb Pico (2 – 4 years old)
- Ride Safer Travel Vest (4 – 6 years old)
- Bubblebum Inflatable Booster Seat (6+ years old, in-depth review here)
Lyft car seat mode – important details
Does Lyft have car seats?
Yes, but their program is extremely limited in scope.
What is Lyft car seat mode?
Lyft car seat mode provides a forward-facing car seat appropriate for ages 2 and up. The driver installs it, and you strap your kid in. Off you go!
Their IMMI Go car seat fits kids 31-52″ and 22-48 pounds. If your child is too small, you’ll need to bring a lightweight infant car seat or one of these smaller toddler travel car seats. Once your child outgrows the IMMI Go, she should fit well in a travel booster car seat.
Each driver has only one seat available, and not every driver has a car seat. So you may find the wait for a Lyft with a car seat to be long; if that happens, it’s worth exploring your public transportation options.
Where is Lyft Car Seat mode available?
As of this writing, Lyft Car Seat Mode is only available in New York City. It’s been almost three years since the program began and there’s been no inkling of expansion. At the same time, the official Uber Car Seat program has been shrinking so don’t be surprised if Lyft’s program never gets any bigger.
If you need a ride with a car seat in Washington DC, Philadelphia or Orlando you can look into Uber Car Seat. Check Welcome Pickups for reliable rides with a car seat in other cities all over the world.
How do I order a Lyft car seat?
When you open the Lyft app, you’ll see “Car seat” as a ride type if it’s available where you’re looking for a ride. It’ll probably be down at the bottom of the list of options.
How much does Lyft car seat mode cost?
There’s a $10 surcharge for a car seat on top of your regular fare.
What does Lyft do to make sure the car seats are safe?
Here’s Lyft’s official information on how they ensure the safety of Car Seat Mode:
Drivers are responsible for safely installing and uninstalling car seats at the beginning and end of each ride. Drivers have been tested on their knowledge of how to properly install and maintain car seats and to recognize whether their car seat is in proper working condition. Only drivers that pass the test may participate in the Car seat program.
Lyft can be a great choice for traveling families, whether you need a ride from the airport or a dash around the city. If there are any questions you still have about Lyft and child seats, leave them in the comments below!