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Is it legal for children to ride in a taxi without a child seat?

This might go against all of your personality, but in some parts of Australia it’s legal to buckle your 12-month-old baby’s seat belt while they’re in a taxi. And in other jurisdictions, you can even put them on your lap without a belt.

  • In most parts of Australia it is legal for one-year-olds to ride in a taxi without a child seat
  • Some states also allow residents 16 years of age and older to hold a child on their lap
  • Taxi drivers don’t need to have a child seat or booster seat – it could fall into the hands of a parent

We will deal with these complex rules and regulations based on the laws of different states and territories.

New South Wales: Transport for NSW road rules state that, while traveling by taxi:

  • Children under 6 months of age must use a rear-facing car seat
  • children aged 6 to 12 months must use a rear-facing child car seat or a forward-facing child car seat with a built-in harness
  • Children over 12 months of age must use a booster seat or have a seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened.

It’s good to see that a 366-day-old baby isn’t allowed to ride a shotgun, as the same backseat regulations as in a normal car still apply.

It must be emphasized that this should only be considered a last resort, an emergency backup plan. By law, taxis are not required to carry child seats or booster seats, but most taxi companies will have vehicles equipped with such seats, available for reservation.

You are allowed to install your own child restraint or booster seat when in a taxi, and in NSW all taxis must be equipped with an anchor point for the child seat.

Victoria: According to the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Authority of Victoria, there are two specific types of vehicles that need to be considered when considering child seat legislation – reserved vehicles, i.e. hire and shared vehicles, and carpooling vehicles. unbooked convenience – taxi.

“Unreserved vehicles (taxi offering rating and hail services) are not required to carry a child safety seat such as a capsule, child seat or booster seat.

“If possible, bring your child’s safety seat or booster seat. Unregistered vehicles must have at least one point where the child restraint or booster seat belt can be securely attached.

“According to the Road Traffic Safety Law 2017 (rules), infants under 12 months of age must be carried by a parent or accompanying adult in the back seat of a taxi.

“Children between the ages of one and six must also sit in the back seat. Children must wear seat belts properly if a booster seat or suitable child booster seat is not available (but must not sit on someone else’s lap).

“Reserved car (car rental/carpool) – rules apply to children traveling in reserved vehicles such as rental cars and carpooling other than taxis. They are like private cars.

“This means that children aged seven and under must be secured in a seat belt appropriate for the child’s age and stature.

“Children over seven must use an adult booster seat or seat belt.”

Queensland: According to the Queensland government’s transport office, legislation in the Sunshine State allows some leniency for children on public transport, including allowing children to be held in their lap.

“Children’s seat belts are not required on buses [13 seats or more], trains or personal transportation services such as taxis, limousines and ride-hailing services. Although child seats are not required for individual transportation services, with sufficient notice, these services can be booked in advance with child seats. Alternatively, you can use your own child safety seat. If there is a child seat belt in the vehicle, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the child is properly secured.

“Children under the age of one can be held in the arms of a person aged 16 or older. Children over the age of one and under seven can be restrained by seat belts (but not in the front seat if the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).”

South Australia: It is not a legal requirement for a taxi driver to provide a child seat or booster seat and parents should use their own seat if possible.

According to MyLicence SA, if an appropriate approved child safety seat is not available, taxi drivers must ensure:

  • All children under the age of seven sit in the backseat in vehicles with two or more rows of seats – no exceptions.
  • Children under one year old can sit on the lap of another passenger aged 16 years or older in the back seat, but must not sit between the passenger and the seat belt;
  • Children aged one to seven years are allowed to sit in their own seats in the back row with seat belts as tight as possible depending on the size of the passenger; And
  • Children between seven and 16 years old wear seat belts.

Western Australia: In WA, the road safety commission states:

“There is no requirement that children aged one to seven years be in a child car safety seat when traveling in a taxi or carpool, however, the safest measure is a car seat. fully appropriate.

“Children under one year old may be held in the lap of a parent or caregiver aged 16 or older when riding in a taxi or carpool, but must not wear a shared seat belt.”

Tasmania: The state transportation agency states:

“Taxi drivers will be responsible for ensuring children from 1 year old to under 16 years old

five seat belts are available as best as possible given your height and weight

child, if a child safety seat is not available. Parents are encouraged to use their own restrictions on taxis where possible.

Australian Capital Territory: In the ACT, the wording of the rules is similar – this information is taken from the Child Seat FAQ on the Access Canberra site:

“Taxi drivers are exempt from child safety seat laws that apply to the carriage of children under seven years of age when an appropriate booster seat or booster seat is not available. Children under the age of seven are not allowed in the front seat of the taxi.

“Taxis must be equipped with at least one child seat belt fixation point so that a person can provide a child safety seat or booster seat for installation in the taxi.

“Most taxis in the ACT have a child seat belt (H-belt) that can be used without a booster seat.”

Northern Territory: According to RoadSafetyNT, rental taxis or divers are not legally required to provide child seats or booster seats, but they need to ensure:

  • Use an approved child restraint if available
  • No passengers under the age of four in the front seat
  • Children between the ages of four and seven can only sit in the front row if all other seats in the row or rows behind the front row are occupied by passengers under the age of seven.
  • All taxis should have an anchor point that can be used to install a child safety seat; However, not all taxis have child safety seats, so you may need to equip one.
  • Although all commercial vehicle operators are exempt, passengers must: sit in separate seating positions and be appropriately restrained from sharing seats with other passengers

Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant road authority in your state or territory.


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