We all are well aware that car seats for the little ones are mandatory in North America and trust me, I have no problem with it. It’s sad that those car seats do not look comfy…especially the infant ones, but safety must come first. I don’t drive and being hardcore city dwellers, our family does not own a car either. Walking or taking public transportation is our preferred method of getting around Toronto.
That said, we do take cabs on occasion. This week our family has the pleasure of hosting a good friend and her precious bundle of joy and the topic of a car seats when travelling in Toronto arose. I enjoy travelling without a pram or car seat, but we did take a car seat on our recent trip to Newfoundland (even though on arrival we found out that you can request for a taxi with a car seat there). In Toronto, that is unfortunately not the case.
Having called the main Taxi companies about travelling with kids, I was given some contradicting information. Most of them stated that their fleets don’t have car seats and that since taxis are public transportation, very similar to the TTC streetcars and buses, there is no legal requirement for infant passengers to be in a car seat in a taxi. In case of an accident, I was told that the onus is on the parents and neither the taxi driver nor the cab company are responsible. One company highlighted that in the event of being stopped by the police, the parents would be fined (not the driver nor the company). However, they indicated that not once have any of their 2000 odd cars been ticketed before for not having kids in a car seat.
The questions still remained for me. Is it legal to travel in a Taxi without a car seat ? Is it a fineable offence to take your child in a taxi without a car seat? I decided to call the City of Toronto’s Licensing Services, the Municipal Licensing and Standards administrative offices. After a thirty minute wait, I finally got my answer from a very helpful lady. She informed me that, NO, you do not need a car seat in a taxi but it is, of course, encouraged. It is not a fineable offence but the passengers are liable in case of any emergencies.
So there you have your answer… legally, you do not need a car seat… but it is in everyone’s best interest to have one since we’ve all been chauffeured by a crazy cabby in Toronto.
Are Car Seats Required for Ride Sharing Services?
Yes. We recently reconnected with the City of Toronto’s Licensing Services to inquire about using car seats in ride sharing services such as UberX, Lyft, and InstaRide. The office informed us that car seats are required when using these services. Based on The Highway Traffic Act, taxi drivers are exempted from having car seats, but this act does not extend to ride sharing.
How to get Around Toronto with Kids
If you are looking for more ways to get around Toronto with kids, check out our summary of Toronto’s transit options. One great option we have recently found is our portable mifold booster seat, which is small enough to fit in a purse or backpack and will help to keep your child safe with travelling in a taxi.
JesseApril 25, 2012 at 12:08 am
My wife and I were laughed at by our whole CPR call when mentioning car seats are not needed in Toronto. Thanks for clarifying
Kumari Goonawardene SelvaduraiJune 28, 2012 at 10:21 am
Well, high time they make it legal and somebody offer the service.. by the way you should talk about flights… they don’t have a baby seat belts either..! most of the time the base of your seat is the float and imagine you struggling with that and the baby? Hmmm! There is no way to buy one either! food for thought!
IlkaJanuary 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm
We found that airport “limos” (glorified taxis) in Toronto have cars with infant seats.
Good to know if you’re traveling to the airport because then you are
Forced to drive on the Gardiner and 427.
YashyJanuary 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Thanks for the tip!! Good to know!
Baby and Life! | Go-Go Babyz Mini TravelmateJuly 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm
[…] NEED to have a car seat in a cab (but ofcouse it’s safer to have one than not – see my taxi post here). That said we often take the subway or the GO train to visit friends who’d pick us up on the […]
loucherylMarch 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm
I didn’t know this about babies in Taxis. Really good information about car seats.
cherylApril 9, 2014 at 8:35 am
I have always wondered this, I find it different then bus or subway in which your child can be in a stroller which can feel a little safer then just having your baby completely out in a taxi, I really feel like it should be mandatory
YashyApril 9, 2014 at 11:09 am
Yes definitely can see it being mandatory for safety concerns but I for one am thankful I don’t have to lug a seat around as we walk around downtown or during our travels. Does make my life easier – I probably would be stuck at home if I had to carry two every time I went out. But that’s just me!
Evenflo Symphony™ DLX All-In-One Car Seat Review - Baby and Life!April 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm
[…] we’re travelling locally we DO NOT take a car seat with us (read all about the taxi car seat rules here) however on occasion we do need it if we are meeting friends with cars on the other end or if […]
KHJune 2, 2014 at 7:52 am
Thanks for the information. I just experienced this yesterday! I took a taxi cab with two kids without car seats. Prior to this experience, I assumed that children who require car seats in private vehicles require car seats in taxi as well. However it is not feasible to install, uninstall, and carry the car seats around during your errands/outings, especially with two kids and two car seats by yourself. At the same time, taking a bus with a stroller is also very inconvenient. You get dirty looks when you bring strollers on the bus; do you remember the big complaint from a senior saying strollers should be banned in a bus and a lot of people agreed a couple of years ago? Also it may be more dangerous to push one toddler in a stroller and hold the hand of an unpredictable preschooler while transferring in a major intersection. For this reason, I was quite thankful to do this yesterday.
evana andrewsAugust 6, 2014 at 6:43 am
this is great tip thanks for sharing
SabSeptember 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm
Hi KH, can you please share which legal taxi companies (or the one you booked from) are available in Toronto, as I need to take my twin babies without a car seat requirement from Brampton to the Downtown Toronto? I would really appreciate your help. Thanks
Chris MurphySeptember 26, 2019 at 10:12 am
Any taxi company would allow you to take your babies without a car seat – Beck, Coop, Crown, City, Diamond etc etc
ShellJuly 25, 2015 at 4:18 pm
That’s really helpful, thank you! We’ll be traveling with twin one year olds and I was wondering about the taxi drive. =)
YashyJuly 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm
So glad you found it helpful!! Wishing you guys safe travels!
LaurenSeptember 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm
So glad you did the calling for me! What a good thing to know…
CLSeptember 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm
i think all infants should be in car seats and i have a toddler now and we’ve only taken short trips in taxis where he has been sitting in my lap. I think families who travel in taxis should ride in the larger van taxi cabs just to be safer.
YashySeptember 2, 2015 at 9:41 pm
I never thought about that…are van cabs any safer than the regular cabs?
JennNovember 28, 2015 at 1:22 am
Nice investigation! I did not know that but now I do. Thanks for sharing.
Suzie mNovember 30, 2015 at 2:55 pm
Such a hard thing to carry around carseats little, but it’s our little ones
DianaDecember 18, 2015 at 4:27 pm
Thanks thats really helpful
HarbirJanuary 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm
Our taxi service provide the all kind of baby seat.please book in advance for that .
A1 Air link taxi 416 456 0095
YashyJanuary 11, 2016 at 9:09 pm
Great to hear Harbir. Is the meter the same as any other taxi off the street and how long in advance does one have to call?
HarryJanuary 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm
All other taxi rate is same only 10$ extra for Van taxi . we provide complementary child seat . Book in advance 1 or 2 days before when you plan to go to YYZ .
YashyJanuary 25, 2016 at 9:57 am
The $10 rate is definitely not always consistent and it’s hard to book a day or two days in advance when we live and travel around the city. People don’t only use taxis for airport runs, you know 😉
Susan WatsonMarch 24, 2016 at 1:10 am
Airport Limo Child Car Seat with Pre installed Infant, Toddler or Booster baby Car Seats service is an established Toronto Airport Taxi & Limousine is a Pre Arrange Service To & From Pearson Toronto Airport. For any “Installed Child Seat Toronto Airport Taxi” or “Toronto Airport Taxi Toddler seat”
YashyMarch 28, 2016 at 11:16 am
That’s great but what about for just exploring the city? That’s what this article is really about, right? We want to share services to help those who want to get around the city of Toronto, not to the airport.
hazelDecember 29, 2016 at 11:16 am
Thanks for the info!!
Debbie White BeattieJanuary 8, 2017 at 6:08 am
I can’t believe this is an issue in this time. You should be able to call to go get one home when ever you want too.
CaityJanuary 25, 2017 at 1:46 pm
Hello! I need some advice!
I am about to move to the Middle East as a single mom of a two year old. I don’t drive and won’t be able to afford to rent a car and hire a driver. Any advice when it comes to taxis and public transit with a toddler? I would want to get a car seat to take each time we hope in a cab, but I worry that’s not realistic with whatever else I’ll be packing in and out of every car trip! But of course I cringe at the thought of having her in a car without a car seat.
YashyJanuary 25, 2017 at 11:56 pm
Hi Caity, I grew up in Dubai and of course legally back in the day car seats weren’t mandatory. As far as I know ( my cousins and grandmother still live there), it’s not mandatory to this day when travelling in a taxi. Two is a hard age – I am currently testing out some travel friendly options but they are for those 3 and above…
Public transit usually doesn’t need anything – we use public trains and kids either were strapped to me (baby wearing), strapped in a stroller or sitting in the seats like adults.
Not sure if this helps you any…
AnonymousApril 29, 2018 at 9:59 pm
This is absolutely incorrect. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act requires infants to be secured in infant restraint systems that conform with the applicable regulations. The city has no ability to opt out of these laws.
YashyApril 30, 2018 at 8:03 am
You are mistaken – even the article link you direct us to states NUMEROUS times ” taxicab while transporting for hire a passenger is exempt from subsection … ” “The driver of a taxicab, bus or public vehicle, while transporting a passenger for hire is exempt from” etc. Unfortunately it is what it is. Taxi’s (not private sharing vehicles like UBER, LYFT, etc) and public transit vehicles are exempt. Yellow school buses don’t have seatbelts either.
NeenaOctober 21, 2021 at 9:39 am
This is great information! Thank you!
YashyOctober 26, 2021 at 2:00 pm
You’re most welcome!