Originally Posted by Princess ConsuelaB
Car seats aren't really practical public transportation.
I don't take taxis for this reason. Well, and because taxis are ridiculously expensive in Cleveland and almost impossible to get if you're not in the central entertainment district. We have fewer taxis per city resident than any other major city in the US.
I think if I had to take a taxi in a strange city I would just hold DD tight, promise the driver a big tip to take it slow (and they earn money by the minute, not the mile, after all), and hope for the best. I would not
haul a giant carseat with me on a trip somewhere. No way.
I do take DD on the bus all the time, usually in a sling or carrier. I hate dealing with strollers on the bus, and people frequently trip on them or knock into them with bags or umbrellas, so I don't do it anymore. It makes some kinds of urban travel more difficult (a stroller is always easier when you're shopping), but I'm lucky enough to live within walking distance of most of what we need, so I can just walk there with the stroller.
I lived for a year in Chile, and while I was there they were considering passing a carseat law in the country. And the moms I knew were horrified, because there was absolutely no way that they could have managed that. In my neighborhood (a very poor slum), nobody owns a car because it's just too expensive. A car seat is something only a wealthy person can afford. There are a few buses in town, but most of the public transit is provided by colectivos
, basically a taxi running on a fixed route that picks up/drops off passengers as it goes along. Frequently parents flag down nearly-full colectivos
with several kids and then pile the children into the laps of the other passengers. I often had strange toddlers in my lap on the colectivo
None of this is to say that this is safe, right? Because the colectivo
drivers only make money if they travel at top speed, and they drive like absolute maniacs. I typically just closed my eyes and prayed when they went careening down the streets. But it is
to say that in that neighborhood, at least, people just do the best they can for their kids, and sometimes that means plopping them on a stranger's lap and hoping the stranger holds tight. In the U.S., we are fortunate and wealthy and safety-conscious (and litigation-minded) enough that most children travel in a car seat most of the time, which is undoubtedly safer. But in other countries, that just isn't feasible.
Okay, one last point about carseats on public transit. When I had DD, the urban hospital where she was born insisted that no baby is allowed to leave the hospital unless it is in a car seat. I was like
??? Because don't some
babies leave the hospital by bus? It's not possible that every single baby
born in that hospital is born to a car-owning family. And carseats are expensive! Not to mention a foolish purchase if you don't have a car and won't be transporting your baby by car. Just another example of a myopically car-centered culture...
ETA: Cartoonist Andy Singer
has a wonderful cartoon called "life to death in a car" which is great. It goes something like this: a picture of an ambulance (presumably with a laboring woman inside), then a baby in a carseat in a car, a kid strapped into the backseat of a car, a young adult driving a beater car, a middle-aged adult driving a minivan, an elderly adult driving a big sedan, and finally a hearse. This conversation made me think of it.