Child seats in short supply at taxi firms

The majority of taxi companies across Canada included in a new study do not provide child restraint devices such as car seats, according to a survey published in the journal Paediatrics and Child Health.

TORONTO — The majority of taxi companies across Canada included in a new study do not provide child restraint devices such as car seats, according to a survey published in the journal Paediatrics and Child Health.

Researchers from the University of Western Ontario surveyed 35 taxi companies in 13 large Canadian cities. Thirty of them — or 86 per cent — said they don’t provide any child restraint devices, which include car seats and booster seats.

The study, which was published in the October edition of the journal of the Canadian Paediatric Society, found the companies cited a lack of government regulation as the main reason they do not provide a child restraint device.

Taxis are considered by all provinces to be public transportation and are therefore not mandated to provide the devices, according to the authors of the study.

Other reasons companies offered included liability, storage space, installation and cost.

The Canadian Paediatric Society has an injury prevention committee with pediatricians from across the country and Marie Adele Davis, the society’s executive director, said she will ask the committee to consider the study.

“If in the opinion of our expert committee and our board of directors we need to do some more specific advocacy to ensure that taxicabs…are included in the provincial car seat legislation then we will absolutely do that,” Davis said.

“The challenge for parents who don’t have a car and aren’t going in a car particularly often, they may not have purchased a car seat because it’s not necessary, so I think it will be important for our committee to look at.”

However, the Canadian Paediatric Society’s position already states that when children are in motor vehicles they need to be in an age-, weight-, and height-appropriate restraint system, and Davis said taxis are already therefore included in their position.

A properly installed child restraint device can reduce the risk of death by 74 per cent and the risk of injury by 67 per cent, according to research cited in the study.

The authors of the study did not return a request for an interview, but in the study’s introduction they indicate they embarked on the study because while surveys suggest about 87 per cent of Canadian children use a restraint device in a private vehicle, there was no data on the use of such devices in taxis.

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