Would you put your six-year-old in a taxi alone?

 Photo: Getty Images

Imagine the scene if you will. It's Thursday night. Your six-year-old is due at a music lesson and you've had a busy day.

The lesson is only 10 minutes away, but the thought of leaving the house again is too much like hard work. Plus you have dinner to make and your youngest child to put to bed.

So what do you do? Simple. You call a taxi, and your problem is solved.

You may think that calling a cab for your child is a bit extreme. However, it appears that not everyone does.

Currently popping up in Sydney suburbs are a number of child specific taxi companies, filling a gap in the market for busy parents.

The idea is that by using these services, parents will be better able to juggle busy schedules and relieve some of life's pressures. It also means that they're not missing out on their own commitments.

Some of the companies also offer the additional option to have the nominated taxi driver stay at the sports grounds/play date and return your child home at the end.

But is this a good idea?

Personally, the thought of my six-year-old hopping in a taxi and heading off to sports at the weekend - or anywhere else, for that matter - is nothing short of both scary and sad.


To me, he's still only little. He still needs reassurance from time to time, and he's still not responsible enough to be trusted in certain situations.

Admittedly, he's confident when he's socialising or doing sport or activities, and there's never an issue with him getting a lift home from a friend. But the idea of him getting in a car with someone he doesn't know just feels wrong - and I'm sure he'd agree.

While there's the promise of all drivers being vetted and undertaking police checks, I wonder if that's that really enough. There's also the issue of placing your trust in someone to drive safely.

Above all, I feel sad at the thought of a child as young as six being put in a taxi. Aren't our children supposed to be our number one priority?

Sure, life is busy, but is it so busy that we can't be responsible for our own children's care?

There are times when you do feel like a taxi driver, and juggling drop off and activities can get old pretty quick. But to avoid doing this just so I can "have time to relax and restore after a busy week" or "go the gym", as the website suggests, seems a bit much.

As an alternative, I'd rather ensure that my son isn't signing up to too many activities so I'm not constantly ferrying him around. Similarly, I would share the chore of drop offs and pick-ups with friends and people I trust.

I asked friends what their thoughts were.

Jess said, "If you've got kids, be responsible and pick them up when you're supposed to be there. I'm sure it's all going to be checked and secure, but imagine if anything went wrong?! My gut says no."

Nat said, "Parents make choices about risk with their kids everyday. This is just another one. You've got to think about the message you send to your kids when you engage a taxi service. Questions about engagement and connection in their lives and activities."

The success and uptake of this service remains to be seen. It may fail or it may become so popular that it paves the way for more businesses of its kind in the future.

As my son gets older and more responsible I may reassess my opinion and attitude towards it. Having said that, I don't think it will be before he is 12, and my preference would be that he rides in it with friends.

As for now, I'll continue to ferry my son around. I may be cursing it some weekends more than others, and I may struggle more as my youngest gets older. But, for me, that's one risk I'm willing to take.