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Car seats and cabs. How do I take a taxi with twins? On Babble’s Parental Advisory

Hi! As a parent without a car and with six-month-old twins, I’m flummoxed. How can we safely (and legally) manage an occasional taxi ride? We’ve got two Strolexes (those car seats that convert into strollers), and they’re great, but it’s impossible for one adult to steer two at the same time. I’ve looked into portable car seats. The Eddie Bauer model that folds up and only weighs four pounds – seems ideal, but 1) they aren’t for babies under twenty-two pounds, and 2) they are forward-facing only. As for conventional car seats, even if they are not heavy, they are too bulky to fit in the storage space of my double stroller. Any ideas? Seems like I’m the only mom with this problem! – can’t drive, don’t ask me

Dear Can’t Drive,

You are most definitely not the only mom with this problem. The Baby-Taxi-Transport conundrum has been plaguing urban parents for generations. Well, maybe not that long, since we’re the first generation to actually consider strapping a baby into a car seat safer than letting him ride on our laps. But when our industrial-designer friends asked us years ago what products the baby market really needed, the portable car seat was at the top of our list. And there have been some truly innovative ideas (see this New York Times slideshow).

But for whatever set of reasons (massive red tape surely among them: U.S. car seat regulations are such that even Euro car seats with better safety ratings can’t get through over here), no really good solution has come to market. Yes, there is the Strolex, which works. But honestly, it’s hard enough for one person to maneuver one of those down a street, never mind two. And is there a reason they use a tiny, weightless stuffed bunny to demonstrate the product on their website instead of an actual baby? Hmmm. The Sit N Stroll is basically the same thing, only bigger and more unwieldy, which won’t help you. There’s also the Tote N Go, but like the Eddie Bauer you mentioned, it’s only for older kids, and trust us, installing it is a nightmare. The only product solution we can think of, and it’s a bit of a sad one, is one of those drag-your-kid-around-the airport wheelie things, basically a luggage cart for your baby. So you’d be pushing one kid in the Strolex, and pulling the other behind you in a car seat on wheels. Which could work, if you’ve got incredible patience, are not in the slightest hurry, and are looking to tone all sets of arm muscles at once.

Otherwise, you’ve got a few choices. One is to enlist the help of someone else for these occasional outings. It’s a drag to feel like you can’t go anywhere without assistance, but believe us, there are many parents of singletons who can’t manage a taxi trip without two adults to do the schlepping. The other is the wildly popular Throw-Caution-To-The-Wind method. Our baby safety class taught us that there is no real way to take an infant in a car safely without a car seat (baby carriers are not designed to restrain through impact). So we cannot personally endorse this choice, but we can say it is probably the leading solution. At least in taxis anyway, where it’s legal to bring a baby on board without the proper gear. One more idea – depending on where you live, there may be car and taxi services that will provide a car seat if you call in advance. It will likely cost a bit more, but could save you aggravation (and depending on your disposition, anxiety).

And maybe if all the urban parents everywhere wish really hard at the same time, something magical and easily transportable will appear. Let us know what times work for you and we’ll set something up.

Have a question? Email parentaladvisory@babble.com

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