Free car seat programs.
Low income families can get help paying for, or free, infant as well as baby car seats. There are several places to turn to for assistance. They range from government social service offices to local Safe Kids coalitions, police departments, automobile manufacturers including Toyota, and charities. In some cases the car seat is provided for free, and other agencies may sell them at a very low cost.
The reason for these programs is to keep the child safe. A struggling household, or maybe even one run by single mom or dad, may be struggling with all of the expenses of raising a kid. So the free car seat assistance programs are available to help offset some of the costs for the parent, and most importantly to keep the baby or infant safe.
Where to get free car seats for kids
Unfortunately there is not one place to turn to. While these programs do exist, there are new guarantees that a parent will be able to get a forward or rear facing car seat or a cover for free. Some of the places to turn to for information, or to apply, including the following. Some of the agencies will also show the parent how to install them, or provide a child seat cover or other accessories as well.
Social service as well as DSS offices can serve as a resource. There are some states, including Texas, that have partnerships with charities, non-profits, and locations such as the Salvation Army. Together they may give free car seats for parents with newborns or infants. In general, the family needs to be very low income and/or in poverty.
In general, in order to get a free infant car seat from a government program, the applicant needs to be on some form of public aid. This may be benefits such as SNAP food stamps, TANF cash assistance, Medicaid, or another big one is if the mother is on WIC. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children often will provide parents with free seats for their car, truck, or SUV. Find information on public assistance programs to contact by state, which will list the DSS contact.
Free inspections of car seats and boosters are usually a community service. The federal government NHTSA can be used as a referral. But the inspections may be done by hospitals, local clinics, police departments, and other public safety and/or health type organizations. Check with either a government office or police department for any information on these automobile installation programs, or they often have referrals to no-cost car seats too.
National charities often provide free children car seats as well. There are two big ones to try that a family will tend to have the most success in contacting for help. They include the Salvation Army as well as the Assistance League. They may offer assistance in a few different ways, including the following:.
- Direct financial aid to buy a car seat, though this is generally for an emergency only.
- Thrift stores may sell low cost car seats, but be careful when buying one there. Only use a legitimate charity as they will ensure the item is safe to use.
- Very low income families may be provided a voucher to shop at a thrift or family store, so it helps pay for the car seat and either makes the price much lower, or covers the entire cost.
What may surprise some people is that a police department, fire station, a courthouse or other public safety centers may have assistance programs too. Not only may have baby car seats for an auto, but they will also train the parent on how to install them in their car. That too would be a free service. As what is the point in having one for your car if you do not install it properly.
Car Manufacturers often provide comprehensive assistance programs. They give free rear or forward facing car seats to low income families with infants, provide classes on installing them, and more. The programs can be called various names, such as Buckle Up for Life by Toyota and General Motors Safe Kids Worldwide. Other companies including Nissan and Honda may also provide installation services to vulnerable households.
Free baby and infant car seats are also provided by a non-profit known as Safe Kids Coalition. This is a nationwide agency. Now not every location will have one, but even if they do not they will try to refer the parent to a resource in their local town, city, or county.
They also provide other safety items for kids. This may be a free bicycle helmet, pads for riding, and the like. The coalition does have affiliates in most states. Find details on how to apply for a car seat program here. https://www.safekids.org/safe-kids-coalitions-united-states.
Another possible option is a clothing bank/closet. Now these mostly have other items, such as diapers or blankets for newborns, but in rare cases car seats are passed out as well to needy families. Or if a charitable run site does not have what is needed, the staff can often direct the family to another free car seat program in their neighborhood. Find a listing of clothing closets.
Insurance companies sometimes operate free car seat programs. It can be a health insurance provider, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, or maybe an auto company. They do this for safety reasons. As by provide a low to moderate income parent with a free instance car seat, it can reduce the exposure or liability of the ensure company. So it benefits both the family as well as the insurer. Ask your insurance providers, whether for medical or auto, about any resources they may offer.