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Travelling by taxi with a baby

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: Travelling by taxi with a baby
By ann asano on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 1:51 pm:

could anyone tell me if it's necessary by law to use a baby car seat when travelling by taxi in Japan? My newborn and I need to visit the hosptial for post-natal check-ups and as it's so cold outside at the moment I thought i'd go by taxi rather than walk, however it just occured to me that I might need a baby car seat - or is this something I can request if I order a taxi by telephone? Is it safe to travel without one even if it's just a 10 min ride - I'm not sure I'd want to risk it with the way taxis drive in Osaka!

Many thanks in advance.

By Scott Hancock on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 2:05 pm:

Although it's said there's a law requiring car seats for children, it seems to NOT apply in taxis - where, as you say, it's needed the most!

You can get in an accident just as easy in a 10 minute ride. If you don't feel safe - and most would agree- better to walk. Be careful in the crossings!

By ann asano on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 2:52 pm:

Thanks for your advice Scott, I thought as much. Don't want to risk travelling in a taxi without a baby car seat, and the exercise will do us good as I haven't really left the house with my baby since coming home from the hospital 3 weeks ago, other than quickly popping to the supermarket. I tend to get dissaproving looks from people that think newborns should be kept inside for the first month or so.

By Anne on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 3:10 pm:

Sadly, the existing law requires buckling up in the front seat only so back seat safety is an option not a requirement. Unfortunately, 10 minutes is actually a very long way in a car and an accident can easily happen. Statistics show that most car accidents happen within 7 km of the home.

Ordering a special taxi with a car seat is a good idea to try since you are going at set times and can plan.

Another option is to borrow a car seat. We used to have one of those combi buggy/car seat. The car seat doubles as a rocker/carrier. They easily snap into a car seat belt and are quite handy for a newborn. Taxi driver will easily help you with these.
cheers, anne

By Scott Hancock on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 4:18 pm:

Those are good ideas, Anne. But, my experience is that many - I'll say 50% - taxi's seat belts in back are inaccessible. Whenever I ride any distance - and always on the highway, I try to use them. Most of the time, they are stuck down inside the seat irretrieveably. I am very persistent and often cannot get them out.

When I point out to the driver, they always say, "Oh, it's OK. You don't need to put them on!"

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 7:40 pm:

I tried a few times to use a baby seat (the portable rocking seat kind for small babies) in a taxi, but after several experiences with non-existent/too short seatbelts, and grumpy taxi drivers who don't understand why they should wait a couple of minutes while you try to fit the seat, I gave up on that. When the children were small and I had to take taxis, I usually put the baby in a sling (Baby Bjorn or similar) and put the seatbelt between myself and the baby - not ideal, but at least that way the baby won't get crushed by the seatbelt, and won't get thrown around in a sudden stop.

I wonder how many decades it will be until Japan follows Australia's example: there you can easily hail or telephone for a taxi with a babyseat and in fact it's illegal to take a baby under one in a taxi without a babyseat.

And the taxi drivers here who say "Oh, you don't need a seatbelt in the back" must not have read the research which shows that drivers are more likely to be killed when backseat passengers are not wearing a seatbelt - it's not that hard to imagine what happens when an adult-sized object comes flying through the air and hits you on the back of your head.

By Marie Kawachi on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 9:35 pm:

Dear Ann,

Don't worry about that disapproving look, l started bringing out my baby girl when she was three weeks old, now she is 5months old to bring my elder daughter to school. I walk everyday back and forth and when we go to the hospital for check up, I put her on the baby sling while taking a taxi for I agree with you, it's really cold out there. For you seldom encounter a taxi driver that understands our situation. Well... Goodluck.

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