RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Riverhead mother is taking on laws that exempt taxis and other car services from child safety seat requirements.
Taxis in many states do not have to provide a car seat, it’s up to the passenger to bring one if they are riding with a child.
Amanda Bymes is on a mission to change that after a near-tragic crash last week, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported. A taxi crashed on Roanoke Avenue and the passengers — a pregnant mother and her 4-year-old son who were unrestrained in the back seat — were ejected.
“It’s devastating. It never should have happened, it’s all preventable,” Bymes said.
She asked local taxi companies how many car seats they have.
“None. The answer I got was they’re not required under New York state law, and we don’t have to provide them,” Bymes said.
She understands where many parents taking suburban cabs are coming from. They often can’t afford a car or a car seat.
“I was a mother at 19 years old struggling to make ends meet, and I had to reach into the community to help me with my situation. Now it’s my time to give back to the community,” she said.
She started out buying one car seat to donate to a taxi. Now, her living room is piled high with 40.
“Out of my paycheck, my Christmas bonus, friends and family,” she said.
She has recruited the help of a daycare director who said precious cargo needs to be protected, regardless of what kind of moving vehicle it is.
“Financial hardships shouldn’t dictate whether your child should be safe,” Ryan Carr, of Pine Tree Care & Nursery, said.
Brymes said the cab companies that she’s approached have been welcoming and thankful. Next, she’s going to organize a training session to teach them the proper installation.
Soon she will have donated car seats of all sizes to every taxi company in Riverhead.
“It’s tragedy waiting to happen, and thank god this little boy survived,” she said.
Down the road, she hopes to fix the potentially fatal flaw in the law.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently found the vast majority of small children in taxis are not in car safety seats, even though there are tens of thousands of taxi and limousine crashes each year.