Our biggest tip is to always use a car seat. It’s a pain, but your kid’s safety is worth it. We won’t scare you with the details (visit the www.thecarseatlady.com for those), but kids in carriers or on laps won’t be safe in an accident.
First get the right stroller to make getting in the cab easier. Any Snap N’ Go Stroller that coordinates with your car seat model works, but we love the Baby Jogger City Mini and its almost universal Car Seat Adaptor for quick one-handed folding and greater stability on the sidewalk. Once your baby outgrows the infant car seat, the Combi Cocorro Lightweight Convertible Car Seat is quick and easy to buckle in and has a very lightweight coordinating stroller frame.
Before you go, read the car seat manual carefully and practice securing with belts or scarves at home. Also rehearse putting the car seat in and out of the stroller plus folding and unfolding the stroller. Try to recruit a family member or friend to help you with your first (or first few) cab rides. Make sure you leave early so you wont be rushed. Bring toys, books or a loaded smart phone to entertain in traffic.
Be prepared before you flag the cab from the curb, with your diaper bag off the stroller and on your shoulder. Put the car seat in the back seat (rear-facing in the middle seat is safest), then fold the stroller. Some cab drivers will get out and put the stroller in the trunk, but don’t count on it. Tell the driver to start the meter and please wait patiently while you make sure everyone’s safe. Leave the door open so he can’t drive away (though we’ve had a few try anyway).
Once the car seat is secure, make sure everyone else buckles up – unsecured grown-ups are huge dangers in accidents. Listen while the driver regales you with stories of his child/niece/grandson’s genius and potty-training prowess, then show your appreciation with words and a generous tip if he was helpful and patient.
Don’t feel like lugging the car seat around? Consider taking a subway or bus – the bulk, weight and low speeds of city buses make them much safer than cars and subway trains may be sometimes crowded and smelly but they never collide. The trains to JFK and Newark don’t get stuck in traffic.
Enjoy going (safely) on the town!