Of course, your baby is an uber baby, but is it possible to take an Uber with baby onboard? Let’s explore.
Um, what the **** is Uber?
Just in case you’ve been living under a public transport rock for the last few years (hey, you’re probably either pregnant or have just given birth – it’s fair go to be out of the loop a little), Uber is a peer-to-peer transport service that allows almost anyone to use their own car to offer ‘on demand’ rides to the paying public.
There’s an Uber app, drivers are vetted (although whether they are vetted enough will be a decision for each individual to make), and the whole process is cashless as your pre-authorised credit card is simply charged for the service. It’s more or less global, and currently, governments across the western world are either welcoming Uber (and Uber-type services), trying to stop them putting taxis out of business, or struggling with how to deal with Uber’s growing popularity and the challenges it brings.
So, Uber with baby: can I or can’t I?
Given that Uber is – at the time of writing – mostly a ‘car seat free’ setup (except in the USA – see below), it may seem likely that you’ll never use an Uber when travelling with a baby. But given the surprising number of westernised regions where babies tend to be transported in a cab without a car seat (yes, we are talking about you, Western Europe) , the option isn’t actually off the table. (We know this post opens up a bunch of safety questions – those are for you to decide as an individual and as your child’s parent. Sue’s preference: a car seat, always. But in many places, this simply isn’t possible. Anyway, back to Uber.)
Of course, the laws differ on kids and car seats; and no doubt your opinions do too. Some countries require car seats for babies but NOT in cabs or mini cabs. Others don’t require them at all. But in the former, that would technically mean that your baby who is NOT in a car seat in an Uber is breaking the law, because as it stands, Ubers aren’t taxis and aren’t regulated in the same way as taxis.
Additionally, when taking an Uber, you don’t know the driver; although in a taxi you don’t either, there are assumedly more checks on their driving skills than an Uber. Assumedly. It’s untested really as it’s all so new.
What do we really want to say about Uber and babies?
All we wanted to posit here really is some food for thought. Sue never thought she’d take an Uber with a baby, but ended up doing so on numerous occasions in Europe. Often, taking an Uber was simply easier than figuring out the local cab system. Sometimes, there WERE no cabs so eventually she gave up and called an Uber. And each time she thought, “Hmm, it’s so handy not having to fiddle around with money when you’re already dealing with the baby getting in and out of the cab.”
On every occasion, the issue of a car seat never came up (she kept the baby in her Ergo carrier mostly). That doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. But on the day of an infamous Parisian taxi strike (ironically, they were protesting about the legality of Uber), Uber was the only option to get her luggage, one adult and a 10 month old baby to her Airbnb accommodation. So, jump in she did.
UberFAMILY – could this change the game?
As proof that these things change quickly, Uber has recognised the problem and come up with a solution. For a $10 surcharge, UberFAMILY users can request a car with a car seat. To date, the service is currently only available in certain cities in the USA, but we assume over time this will change.