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CHILD SEAT SAFETY COVID-19: A DIFFERENT DILEMMA?


Supposing the child passenger urinated (or worse) on the seat. The next job off the rank involved a family with a child – obviously there would not have been time for the driver to clean off the child seat or change it for another (if he had one). So he would lose the job, or be prosecuted for failure to provide the booster seat, and may not be in a position to clean off the child seat until a much later time.


As a result, it was agreed that if a parent wished to provide a booster seat for their child, then they would be more than welcome to do so, the seat being held in storage until the return journey in the case of airport runs etc, but the drivers would not be expected to provide them for the journeys. As such the exemption remained in place.


Project that forward to today’s pandemic-stricken scenario. What with PPE, social distancing and so on, do any drivers carry child seats or boosters? What about sterilisation of such seats after a journey: would subsequent passengers deem the seat to be sterile and safe for their child?


FRONT SEAT FIASCO


Some parents might even suggest that their child travels in the front passenger seat of a saloon PHV or MPV, to adhere to social distancing and lessen virus transmission to the driver (on the basis that children have been found to be less likely to succumb to Covid or be a potential carrier).


Steady on! You may or may not know that if the child is in the front passenger seat in a rear-facing car seat, the front passenger airbag(s) must be deactivated; it is illegal to carry that child in such a manner without doing so. How involved is that procedure in your licensed saloon or MPV?


If the child is in a forward-facing car seat in the front, check in your vehicle’s manual that it’s safe to have a forward- facing car seat in this position. If no advice is given, contact your car’s manufacturer or dealership for advice.


If you’re unable to find this information, the AA advises pushing the front passenger seat back to its rear most point to increase the distance between your child and the dash- board mounted airbag. But how would this affect the PPE partition screen you’ve had installed during Covid?


PURPOSE-BUILT TAXIS AND PUSHCHAIRS: A DILEMMA


We now come to the controversial issue of carrying children in ‘black cabs’: the purpose-built taxi into which so many mums have wheeled their babies or toddlers into a London style taxi whilst still in their pushchair. This has happened so


MAY 2021


So where do you stand in this controversial issue of the safe carriage of children in licensed vehicles, especially during the Covid crisis? As mentioned in previous features on this matter, we don’t know of many PH firms – or independent taxi drivers – who provide child seats for young passengers, and they’re not obliged to do so, although for most school contracts, the education authority do provide the seats that are dedicated for the child’s use during the journey. The other alternative is for the parent(s) to provide a child seat or legal booster, and in reality this doesn’t happen very often.


It’s going to have to be a judgment call on a day-to-day basis. But in these restricted times – when business is tough enough as it is – has this further hampered your job rates at all?


PHTM welcomes your input, as always – and particularly on this rather sensitive issue, for which there is scant concrete regulation and little insight into the reasons behind such sketchy and vague rules. As always, we would forward any views/opinions onto the Department for Transport and any other relevant government department, as they know that both PHTM and the NPHTA have our ‘finger on the pulse’ of the industry; indeed we are invited regularly to update them on any and all trade issues.


May your voice be heard! Article written by Donna Short 55


many times over the past few years; how many drivers have refused to carry these children in this manner?


Hopefully most of them, as it is not possible to restrain a child sitting in a pushchair in the same secure manner as it is to strap in a wheelchair-bound passenger. Again, there is no protection for the child in a pushchair in the event of a side-on collision… they wouldn’t fare much better in a head-on incident either.


But now in light of Covid, we’ve heard tell of incidents where the parent tells the driver that it’s all right to carry the child in its pushchair because they’ve got one of those Perspex covers over the front of the pushchair, which will protect both the child and the driver from transmission of the virus.


Cancel that! Not only is it fictional nonsense; it still leaves the child at risk in the event of a road incident… and who is responsible? The driver, of course.


LET’S GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS…


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