This article about Uber car seat considerations is written by certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Melissa Conn and may contain affiliate links.
In the decade since its founding, Uber has revolutionized the transportation world. City dwellers no longer need to stand out in the rain to hail a taxi. Young urbanites are turning to a car-free lifestyle with ridesharing as a viable commute options. And world travelers (like you) don’t have to worry about language barriers and “broken” meters. With nearly a million drivers in the US and another 2 million in other countries, Uber is taking the world by storm.
But what’s the deal with Uber and car seats? Sure, Uber (and Lyft, Grab and others) are convenient for unplanned rides for adults but life gets trickier when kids are involved. In this article we’ll address some critical questions for parents who want to use Uber with kids:
- Can Uber take kids? Is Uber kid friendly?
- Can you ride Uber without a car seat? Where is Uber exempt from car seats regulations? Or do I need a child seat in Uber at my destination?
- Am I allowed to install a car seat in an Uber? Can i bring my own car seat for Uber? What’s the best car seat for Uber?
- Where is Uber Family/Uber Car Seat available? Is my child eligible? Where is the car seat service on Uber? How can I request a carseat on Uber?
Be sure to read below for the May 2023 Uber car seat update – exciting news!
Can Uber take kids?
Absolutely! In my experience Uber is very kid-friendly and we’ve used it 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. Uber is perfect if you’re planning a car-free family vacation – check out our favorite ideas.
I think Uber 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 UberX will suffice. Got a bunch of kids in car seats and lots of luggage? The Uber XL size is sure to fit everyone comfortably!
We’ve never had an issue taking our kids in Ubers and find them much more family-friendly than taxis. Some kid-friendly Uber drivers even offer to put Kidz Bop on the radio! They sometimes come with bottles of water and little candies for the kids, which I’ve never seen in a traditional taxi.
Does Uber require car seats?
Technically the Uber car seat policy itself doesn’t require kids to be in car seats; however, they do require drivers to comply with local laws. And an Uber driver can refuse to take your family if you don’t have a safe way to restrain your child (since it impacts the driver’s liability and safety). I know of families left standing on the curb because they didn’t have a car seat and the driver was within his rights to refuse to drive them based on Uber car seat rules.
Before you travel anywhere with a car seat age child, make sure to search online for the destination and “Uber car seat laws” or “Uber child seat rules”, but sometimes even that isn’t straightforward. Some states, cities and countries treat Uber like a taxi (often shockingly exempt from passenger safety rules) while others treat Uber 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! Here’s a helpful breakdown of Uber laws by state, though it’s only as clear as the local laws.
Regardless of Uber car seat rules or local laws, the laws of physics don’t change when you hail a ride through the Uber app. Even if it’s a short ride, it’s important to put your kid in a car seat of some sort to keep them safe. Accidents can still happen in an Uber.
Bringing your own car seat for Uber
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 Uber with a baby, it’s hard to beat the Doona infant car seat as the perfect Uber infant car seat!
Okay, but can I use my own car seat with Uber?
We’ve found Uber drivers to be much more patient about car seat installation and letting us take time to achieve a secure fit than traditional taxi drivers, probably because they know we’ll be rating them after the trip. 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 Uber?
- Doona infant car seat (birth – 1 year old, also available here)
- 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)
If you need to transport a seat around the city before or after your Uber ride, check out these options to ease your load.
Uber Family & Uber Car Seat services – important details
Does Uber provide car seats?
Over the last few years, Uber has rolled out the much-needed Uber Family/Uber Carseat service in a few major cities in the US. You can also arrange the nearly-identical Lyft car seat mode in New York City.
For cities outside of Uber/Lyft car seat areas, Welcome Pickups can generally provide a car seat on request (including cities in Europe, Asia, South America and even parts of the US). Every now and then we’ve had an Uber driver show up with a booster seat in the trunk as a courtesy option, but it’s not common.
May 2023 Uber car seat update: On May 17 2023, Uber announced a new partnership with premium car seat manufacturer Nuna to place their awesome Nuna Rava convertible car seat in Uber with Car Seat vehicles. This is a great change, as the seats will accommodate infants through average size 5 year olds in a seat that’s easy to install and adjust. Rava-equipped vehicles will be part of Uber Car Seat NYC and the soon-to-be-launched Uber Car Seat Los Angeles.
What is Uber Family? What is Uber car seat?
UberX Car Seat (also called Uber Family) 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!
The official Uber Car Seat program provides an IMMI Go car seat, fits kids 31-52″ and 22-48 pounds. If your child is too small, you’ll need to bring an infant car seat or one of these smaller travel car seats.
Once your child outgrows the IMMI Go Uber car seats, she should fit well in a travel booster car seat. The IMMI Go can technically become an Uber booster seat but it’s probably not worth the $10 and extra wait time for Ubers with car seats when you could just bring one of these.
Each driver has only one seat available, and not every driver has a car seat. So you may find the wait for an Uber with a car seat to be very long; if that happens, it’s worth exploring your public transportation options.
Where is UberX Car Seat available?
Officially, just New York City as of this writing. Washington DC, Philadelphia and Orlando used to be on that list as well. But the confusing part is that in some of those cities you can still book a car with a car seat and car seats are still listed as an option for those city’s informational pages (but not on the Uber Car Seat page). On the other hand, the new 2023 Uber with Car Seat service is supposed to be in Los Angeles but still isn’t showing up months after the announcement. So YMMV.
Before visiting a major city in the US, it’s worth opening your app and setting up a fake ride to see if the car seat option pops up – it may be pretty far down the list of car options!
Here are the Uber Car Seat service options in 2023 you can find when you dig around the website (click “More” in the list of ride types):
- New York: Uber Car Seat
- Washington DC: UberX Car Seat, Uber Black Car Seat, Uber Black SUV Car Seat
- Uber Car Seat Orlando: UberX Car Seat, Uber XL Car Seat, Uber Black Car Seat, Uber Black SUV Car Seat
Be warned that some of these aren’t available all the time. For instance, a quick check for Orlando showed that UberX Car seat service wasn’t available at all – just the premium rides at a $30-50 premium.
New for 2023! The Uber Reserve program allows you to schedule a ride up to 90 days in advance, and this includes Uber Car seat. That’s a huge help for families who want to book an Uber with a car seat and know their schedule in advance. For instance, if you’re arriving at JFK at 5pm Sunday and want a lift into the city you should be able to arrange that. Likewise if you’re taking your girl to her first Broadway show and don’t want to take the subway back at night, you can have a driver pick you up right after the curtain falls. Obviously it’s less useful for spur-of-the-moment situations, when Uber car seats are subject to availability.
It’s also important to remember that Uber car seat in NYC is only served by regular cars holding a maximum of four passengers. There’s no option for an SUV or minivan equipped with a car seat unfortunately.
We’ve also heard reports that in the “unofficial” Uber car Car Seat cities that there’s more variation in the car seats offered. Leaked screenshots from Uber’s info for drivers indicates that the seats have to be at least 6 months from expiration, never have been in an accident and chosen from an approved list (mostly Graco, Britax, Chicco, Maxi Cosi and other high end brands; no Cosco allowed).
Check Welcome Pickups for rides with a car seat in other cities.
How to request a car seat on Uber
Requesting a car seat on Uber isn’t so different than arranging any other ride through the app. Just open it, pop in your destination and then keep swiping through allllll the different types of cars. If there’s a car seat option, you’ll probably see it at the end (and it will be listed as I’ve shown above for each of the cities where Uber Car Seat is available).
How much does Uber Family/Uber Car seat cost?
There’s a $10 surcharge for a car seat on top of your regular fare. As you can see above, in some cities only the premium cars offer car seats. In those cases, the cost can really add up and it might be better to take public transportation or rent a car.
What does Uber do to make sure the car seats are safe?
When Uber first rolled out their Uber Family program, they ran a very tight ship. The program was created in partnership with a local expert, who oversaw training to make sure that drivers knew how to install their seats, ensured that seats were replaced after an accident and more.
That partnership no longer exists, but in New York City many of the features are still in place. In the other cities, drivers only need to submit a photo of the car seat (to prove that it’s an approved option) and a photo of the sticker (to prove that it has at least 6 months until expiration) and attest that it has never been in an accident.
Uber with Car Seat FAQs
Absolutely! Installing a car seat in an Uber is the safest way for your child to ride.
That depends on where you’ll be riding. It’s never safe, but in some jurisdictions Uber falls under taxi laws and short rides are exempt. But an Uber driver can still leave you on the curb if they see that you have a toddler without a car seat. Please do not plan to Uber with a toddler and no car seat.
In several cities, Uber has car seats in a small number of forward-facing or convertible car seats. There are changes working their way through the program in 2023. Read this article for all the details!
No, unfortunately you can’t request an Uber with baby seat. In New York and Pennsylvania, the typical Uber car seats are only legal for children at least 2 years old. Going forward Uber will provide the Nuna Rava, which will fit infants, but that doesn’t seem to be widespread yet. If you’re trying to figure out how to Uber with a baby, just know that you are responsible for bringing a car seat.
Yes, you can Uber with a baby but you’ll need to bring your own car seat to keep your child safe. There’s no Uber baby car seat option and it would be illegal and unsafe for your child to ride unrestrained.
If you want to try out the Uber car seat service, you’ll find that as a ride type you can select when you’re booking your ride if it’s available in your area.
As of this writing, Uber car seat is available in NYC, DC and Orlando only.
Probably not. You can always try to set up a fake ride before, and read this article for a breakdown of where Uber with carseat is currently available.
Yes, kids can ride in Uber. In most places they are required to ride in an age-appropriate restraint according to local law.
It’s never safe to take your child in Uber without a car seat. In many places it’s illegal, and in any place a driver could leave you standing on the curb if they don’t feel comfortable with the risk to your child’s safety and their standing with Uber.
If you’re here wondering “can I use Uber for my child?” the answer is no. There is no option to user Uber for kids at this time, however parents can now add Uber for teens who need to ride on their own. This new service is still rolling out but allows parents to set up rides and track their progress. Notably, Uber for teens is not available in California at this time.
How to request Uber with car seat
How can you request an Uber with a car seat? It’s easy if you follow the steps below!
- Open the Uber app to request a ride as usual
- Scroll through the available ride types
The car seat Uber option is usually listed all the way at the end. Tap to select.
- Review pricing information (optional)
Click the small “i” for the Fare Breakdown of Uber with child seat. The $10 Uber car seat fee is listed under Estimated Surcharges.
- Confirm your ride
Click “Confirm Car Seat” and you’ll be on your way! If the box at the bottom says “No cars available” you can wait a few minutes to try again.
Uber 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 Uber and child seats, leave them in the comments below!
You might also like…
- Best travel car seat options by age
- What’s the best travel booster car seat?
- What’s the lightest infant car seat?
Pin this for handy reference later!