Do you have to have a car seat when you take Uber or Lyft?
The Guru Take
In general, in almost all localities, yes. There are exceptions
Car seat laws and requirements are under local and state laws, so you would need to check with your local authorities such as the RMV to be sure.
One good reminder is that most rideshare services are regular cars with drivers with normal licenses, so you should follow all rules you may already be familiar with with your own vehicle. UberX, UberXL, and Lyft all fit into this category.
With that said, in some cities and municipalities, taxis and vehicles with livery licenses are exempt from car seat and seatbelt rules. So, if you call a local taxi or if you call an high-end Uber service such as UberBlack or UberSUV (where drivers and vehicles have "livery/limo" license"), you may not need a car seat. Of course, you should still be considerate of the safety of your children, and we recommend you provide a car seat if you can.
Uber and Lyft both have options for car seats, where you can request one within the mobile app. This basically sends the request out to those drivers who have car seats ready to go. However, these services are only available in selected cities and from what we have heard are limited in availability. There is also an additoinal cost involved. (We remember seeing $10 in Philaelphia - as an example.)
Many taxi companies also provide a car seat, if you ask the dispatch. It's definitely worth a shot. Local taxi companies should also know whether one is required in your town or not.
There are also rideshares for children. This is a new concept and there are few and far between; however. Here are some examples: Rideshare Services for Children and Young Teenagers (Minors)