As the colder weather settles in and parents may be less able to push strollers along snowy sidewalks, they may be tempted to call a taxi for a ride.
Before you do, know you will need to have a car seat for the cab. The law, new this year, requiring all back seat passengers to buckle up, was approved by the state legislature in March and took effect Nov. 1.
Local cab companies do not provide car seats for traveling passengers and according to Medical Answering Service, the state brokerage firm that assigns Medicaid trips, they are not required to. Additionally, taxi companies may decline trips if a traveling parent does not have a car seat for their child, said LeslieAnn Regan, Medicaid Field Liaison.
At least one cab company, Collegetown Taxi, said this is exactly what they do- they will not take the call if a parent is accompanied by a child and does not have a car seat.
Parents in need of car seats have a couple of options.
They can contact the Cortland County Sheriff's Department at 607-758-5545 for assistance both acquiring and safely securing a car seat. According to Officer Jeffrey Messina, the department gets a limited number of car seats each year, which are made available on a first come-first serve basis.
A car seat officer will educate the parent on how to safely install the seat. At the time of the appointment, the parent must either have the child with them or know the child's height, weight and age. The vehicle the seat will be installed in must also be present, said Messina.
In the event the parent relies on public transportation, Messina said the department would accommodate the situation the best it can. (Parents are reminded of the need to social distance and wear masks during any appointments).
The County Health Department also has a car seat program which has been put on hold until the spring, due to COVID-related staff obligations and social distancing requirements. If you are in need in the spring, that department can be reached at 607-758-5509.
For more information and additional details about car seat resources click here.