Before we had babies, we were BFFs with taxis--granted on some days they acted more like frenemies than compadres. But once we became moms, hailing a cab became less of a convenience and more of a puzzle while we tried to figure out logistically how it worked with a baby in tow.

Luckily, services like über family have come into play since then, but still, in a city where many of us rely on zipcars and taxis when we’re on-the-go, being able to securely install a car seat in different cars is an art we, as parents, should all master.

Here Britax Child Passenger Safety Advocacy Manager Sarah Tilton sheds some light on one of the biggest logistical challenges we face as city parents.


What specific features are there to consider when shopping for a car seat that can be used in taxis or rental vehicles?

Overall, on-the-go parents should look for car seats with a simple installation process. Britax’s ClickTight Installation System, for example, uses the vehicle seat belt to give parents a secure install in seconds, each and every time.

Additional car seat features that will simplify vehicle transition include an easy recline and built-in lock-offs to ensure a snug lap and shoulder belt installation with minimal effort. If you plan to take your child on an airplane, don’t forget to look for car seats that are certified for aircraft travel (FAA approved).

What are some tips you can give parents on installing car seats efficiently under the time crunch of a running meter?

In addition to purchasing a car seat that makes the installation process as simple as possible, parents should make sure they are extremely familiar with their seat before traveling in cabs. Parents should practice the installation process on their own vehicle (or a friend’s) several times to ensure they will feel comfortable transitioning to a stranger’s vehicle.

Always refer to your child restraint user guide or call your car seat’s manufacturer’s customer service if you have questions about installation. If you still feel unsure about your car seat installation, please have a certified technician check your installation.

Parents should also try to have a taxi pick them up in a less busy area, such as a side street. When the taxi driver doesn’t feel pressure to start the trip, you will also be more relaxed and able to focus on a safe car seat installation.

Are there accessories that you'd recommend for parents to make carrying a car seat around the city easier?

When walking around the city, I recommend using Britax’s Car Seat Travel Bag. Conveniently, it can be worn like a backpack or rolled behind you. Britax and a few other companies also offer a Car Seat Travel Cart, which can be used with children harnessed in the car seat and then wheeled for short travel distances.

Boosters seem like a good option for toddlers in the city because they're lighter, but how old does the child have to be to safely be secured in one?

Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing child seat. There is not a specific age when children should transition to a booster. Factors to consider when determining if your child is ready for a booster seat include:

1. Your child reached the top weight or height allowed for their forward-facing seat with a harness

2. Your child’s shoulders are above the top harness slots in their forward-facing seat

3. Your child’s ears have reached the top of their forward-facing seat

4. Your child meets the age and size requirements of the booster seat

5. Your child meets the requirements of your state laws regarding booster seat use

6. Your child’s maturity level – if your child is a wiggle worm or sleeps frequently in the vehicle, he or she may not be ready for a booster seat

Is there any safe way to hold a baby in a taxi with no car seat? What about buses?

No. Infants should always be safely secured in a car seat during car travel. You should continue to use the child seat system--convertible car seat, youth seat, or booster seat--to the upper limits of its recommended use, or until your child can fit properly in the adult seat belt.

If the only option for parents is to ride a bus, parents can keep small children tightly secured in their stroller, with the parking brake activated, or attached to them in a baby carrier, while sitting. City buses tend to be large and typically travel at a slower pace. If a crash were to take place, the results can be less severe.

How often do you travel in cabs with your baby?

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."


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