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Hired drivers let baby ride without car seat

The first call was for an Uber. "We don't have a car seat, we've got a little kid here," we told the driver. "Where's he at? Oh. Don't worry, I don't think I've had an accident in probably two days," the Uber driver responded. While the driver was clearly joking, he was ready to take off with no car seat for Renly. We stopped the ride before it started. Uber drivers can cancel a ride on their app, citing a lack of car seat as a reason. "I mean, did I say something wrong? I was just kidding," the Uber driver said as we left his vehicle. But the risk for a child like Renly without a car seat is no joke. Federal crash test video shows a small child or infant flying forward out of the arms of a parent and in great danger. "You never put a child in the car unless they're properly restrained," Andreasen said. She said she belongs to the national organization The nonprofit's mission is stated to be to keep children safe in and around vehicles and to encourage people to follow the law. The next ride we tried was with Lyft. "We don't have a car seat. Is that going to be a problem?" we asked the Lyft driver. "I don't think you're going to leave him. We got to go," the driver responded. Again, we stopped the ride. We tried a third time with Z Trip. "We've got a 10-month-old here with us, but we don't have a car seat. Is that a problem?" we asked the Z Trip driver. "No, no that's fine," he said. For a third time, we stopped the trip, but the driver tried to talk us into taking it. "I'm a safe driver," he said. We made one final attempt to see if a driver would not take us without a car seat for 10-month-old Renly. This time, we called City Cab. "We don't have a car seat. Is that going to be a problem?" we asked the driver. "No, you can hold him on you. I try my best," the driver said. Every one of the four drivers from four different companies was ready to drive half an hour across the metro with 10-month-old Renly in the back without a car seat. It turns out none of them were breaking the law by picking us up in Missouri without a car seat. Because under Missouri law, all public carriers for hire don't have to have child restraints. But there is no exemption in Kansas. So, if the drivers had crossed the state line for the Johnson County trips we requested, they'd be breaking the law. We asked our City Cab driver about it as we left his car. "I'm Andy with 41 Action News. That's illegal, did you know that?" "Well, I mean, that's fine," he replied. "It's absolutely terrifying. That's the number one killer of children in our country is vehicles so this is, you know, incredibly important. Something that all parents and all cab companies need to consider," Andreasen said. Uber and Lyft both said drivers must follow all relevant state, federal and local laws. And if parents don't have the proper safety equipment for their child, drivers should cancel the ride. Z Trip sent an email stating their driver wasn't breaking the law by giving us a ride in Missouri without a car seat, but the company didn't respond when we asked about breaking Kansas law. A City Cab spokesman said his drivers aren't supposed to pick up babies without car seats. When public carriers for hire aren't involved, Missouri and Kansas have similar laws stating children under a year old and less than 20 pounds need to be in a rear facing, secured car seat. Both states also require children younger than four to use a car seat. And both states require children between four and eight to ride in a booster seat unless they weigh more than 80 pounds or are taller than four feet, nine inches tall. Andreasen said the two states' laws are the bare minimum. "In Kansas and Missouri, you don't have to have your child rear facing until age 2, but that's what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends," she said. ---
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