Hi, I'm Krista and this is my family. Since my husband and I both work full time (and live away from family), we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we need last-minute help with our 10-year-old son, Evan.
Currently, Uber and Lyft drivers are not legally allowed to give passengers under 18 years old rides alone.
Uber and Lyft have similar policies stating that anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. If the driver suspects a passenger is underage, they can ask to see identification.
So, when I recently came across this app called Kango – a driving and babysitting service for kids – I thought it was worth checking out.
I really loved that all of their drivers and caretakers have passed background checks, fingerprinting, and a DMV record check. There is a $9 membership fee, the minimum ride fare* is $16, and sitters range from $15-$20 per hour per child.
Once you download the app, you fill in your personal profile and each one of your children's information – including whether or not they need a booster or car seat (Kango provides these free).
So, while they do allow on-the-spot ride requests without a meeting beforehand, I didn't like the idea of my child not knowing someone else would be picking him up. In addition, that would put him in a situation where he would have to get in the car with a stranger – something I've taught him his whole life not to do! So, I opted to meet the driver beforehand with Evan so he felt comfortable.
After we both felt comfortable with our driver (she was very nice and talkative!), I scheduled my son rides to and from school one day. In the notes section, we requested the driver we met.
In the morning our driver showed up in the same Kango-branded vehicle we met her in.
I was able to monitor the whole ride as they were driving by watching their location on the app. After Evan was dropped off, I got a notification:
Since picking up kids is trickier than dropping them off, I was a little nervous about how it would go. However, I knew the driver could contact me and vice versa through the app, so that did make me feel better. The drivers park and walk up to find the child if needed (hence why uploading a picture of your kid is handy). In addition, all drivers must wear a pink, Kango-branded shirt. So, Evan knew to look for the woman in a pink kangaroo shirt.
The ride on the way there and the ride on the way home ended up costing $18 each. We live three miles from the school, so overall it came to $6 per mile 😬. Out of curiosity, I wondered what it would cost for a babysitter. For a four-hour window, I was quoted between $64-$92.
My son liked the ride, he said the driver was friendly and made sure he put his seatbelt on. I really liked how they offered a meet and greet beforehand. I also like that there's an option to schedule out rides or care and an option for last-minute rides or care. Another plus is that they park and get out of the vehicle to get your child if needed. All that being said, I don't think I would be sold on this idea until my kid was in high school and had a cell phone. I also think their prices are pretty high. This app could be very helpful in a last-minute or emergency situation, but not something I – personally – would use regularly.