I live in New York City and most families in New York City (Manhattan) don’t own cars and often have their children sit in their laps when they travel around the city since it is such short distances. On the one hand, I understand how difficult it would be to bring a car seat with you anywhere you go in the city because they are extremely heavy, but also I think about the safety of the children. I am shocked that there isn’t laws in place to have taxis have car seats or something along those lines of built in car seats with the number of children in the city. According to Wikipedia, “Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan has grown by more than 32%.” In addition, “The latest details from the 2010 census suggest that Manhattan has become a more attractive place for younger people — it was the only borough to register gains in both children under 5 and in its 15-to-34-year-old population. ‘It suggests an attraction to Manhattan for parents who can afford to live there,’ said William H. Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution,” according to the New York Times. Which brought me to the bigger parenting thought of – what exact age is it appropriate to get rid of the car seat and actually have your child use a seatbelt, which would be perfect for taxis in New York!
Here is how to know when your child can safely wear a seatbelt:
Kids can start wearing a regular seatbelt when they can easily rest their back against the seat of the car and bend their knees over the edge of the seat. Usually, this happens when kids are between 8 and 12 years old and around 4′ 9″ tall.
Make sure the lap belt fits comfortably across the thighs (not the stomach) and that your child is not slouching. The shoulder strap should go across the chest and shoulder, and never goes beneath a child’s arm, behind the back, or across the neck. Seatbelts must be worn correctly for them to work properly.