The debate on car seats for taxis and ride-sharing services

(CBS) -- Like many parents in New York, Caroline Hwang doesn't use a car seat when traveling with her son in a taxi.

"It's a calculated risk, because you're not going very fast and the chances of you being in a serious high-speed collision are pretty low," she said.

Research from Virginia Tech University finds New York is among 35 states where cabs are exempt from laws that require young children to travel in a car seat. Except for Georgia, it's not clear if ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are also exempt. In the other 15 states, children must have a car seat in all for-hire vehicles.

"There's a lot of confusion that parents experience when they want to carry their children using rideshare services. The laws across the nation are inconsistent from state to state," said Justin Owens with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Owens says in many states that require car seats, it's not clear if the parent or driver needs to provide them.

"State legislatures really need to work on catching up the laws and regulations."

In New York City, Uber will have a driver like Rafael Serrano provide a forward-facing car seat for an extra $10. Lyft has a similar program, but also, only in New York City.

"It's super safe and reliable, so I'd rather have the kids safe than sorry you know," Serrano said.

Uber and Lyft both tell us that drivers and riders in the rest of the country need to follow all local laws and drivers can turn down riders who do not provide a proper child safety seat.