The best way to get a free car seat, of which is through organizations like Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Safe Kids Worldwide programs. Every state in the United States has a free car seat program available for low-income families in the area. 

Sometimes, the costs associated with a new baby can be overwhelming for low-income families. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret because you can get a free car seat for your baby.

study published by the Slovenian Journal of Public Health concluded that those with a low or college education had a higher likelihood of not using a kid car seat than those with a university education. It also concluded that single-parent households and those living in areas with low or medium status were also more likely not to use a child car seat.

The reality of car seats can explain this can be expensive for low-income families and single parents. This is why many states and organizations have launched free car seat programs to assist families in ensuring their child’s safety and following the car seat law. 

In this article, I present different resources on how and where to receive free car seats for your infant. You will also find the specific requirements and guidelines to qualify for these programs.

Free Car Seat Programs by State 

All 50 states of America have a program that gives free car seats to families and moms who can’t afford them. Different states have different guidelines, programs, and resources. I only have the space to present some of the 50 states. So, I have selected only a few as examples.  

California

If you reside in California, there are different resources for mothers looking for help with infant car seats.

One of the best options in the state is Keen’ Em Safe, operated by Pacific Safety Center. You must produce an identity card, proof of low income, and evidence of a relationship with your kid to receive a free car seat

The public health agency of San Bernardino County also distributes car seats at a reduced rate to parents that cannot afford one. You may reach them at 1(800) 782-4264. You must first take a free brief course to learn about car seats before you qualify to have one. 

Texas

Programs offering a free car seat in Texas are meant to help low-income families. One of those is the Texas Health and Human Services. It has a statewide program focused on raising parental awareness of their children’s safety by providing education and car seats to all families.

One of the requirements to qualify is for parents to attend an hour-long session to become acquainted with how a car seat works. If you are interested, contact them at 800-252-8255, where you will be referred to a local resource.

El Paso Health Car Seat Safety Program of the University Medical Center Foundation has been giving free car seats since 2014. They have distributed 2,153 car seats in total.

Florida

Most resources and organizations in Florida, such as John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, only offer car seats at a discounted price. Families enrolled in government-supported programs receive car seats at a discounted price of $20. For additional information, please contact them at 1-800-756-7233 Ext. 4. 

Pinellas County’s Department of Health offers installation training and complimentary education to all children’s hospitals in the Tampa Bay area. It also provides no-cost car seats to those families that can’t afford one. 

New York

There are many options for a free car seat in New York, including Ardent Solutions. The organization has a Child Safety Seat Distribution Program to help low-income families and others access the correct child safety seat. Parents and legal infant custodians are provided free car seats until the child is old enough to travel securely without one.

To qualify, the family must be low-income, including recipients of WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF. One of the child’s primary caregivers must undergo a one-hour child passenger safety class.

Another option is Livingston County. It offers free car seats and assistance to parents and families with limited financial resources. 

Pennsylvania

If you are in Pennsylvania, you can get a free car seat from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with their Child Safety Seat Program. To be eligible, you must receive public assistance and a green EBT Access card. You must also present a documented prescription/referral from a healthcare practitioner (doctor, nurse, social worker, etc.), an EBT Access card, and picture identification.

Your written prescription/referral form must include your kid’s name, date of birth, height, and weight, as well as your requirement for a child safety seat. If you’re pregnant, the form must include the requirements for a car seat and the projected delivery date.

Illinois

There are limited resources for a free car seat if you live in Illinois. Your best options are Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Buckle Up Program. They offer cheaper or free car seats for the residents of Illinois.

Ohio

You can receive free car seats if you live in Ohio through the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) Car Seat Program. The OBB and the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) program of the Ohio Department of Health distribute child safety and booster seats to qualifying low-income families in all Ohio counties.

Georgia

Like most states, the South Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health has its own Car seat Program. This program aims to provide low-income families in need with a child safety seat. This initiative is intended to lower newborn death rates and improve child passenger safety.

You must first attend a child passenger safety class to learn to correctly install your car seat before you qualify for the program.

North Carolina

If you reside in Carolina, you can approach Henderson County’s Child Passenger Safety Program for assistance with a free car seat. Their leading service is to educate families about correct car seat usage and proper installation to ensure the safety of their little ones. 

Michigan

The Michigan State Police has a Car Seat Distribution program that provides car seats during local seat check events for low-income households. To qualify, you must fill out the car seat request form and the Costco car seat order form. Once done, submit them to OHSP by a qualified CPS technician at least 45 days before the event. 

Virginia

The Department of Health in Virginia launched a Low Income Safety Seat Distribution and Education Program. This program advertises, acquires, and distributes free child safety seats to low-income families. Montgomery County’s local distribution center is the Montgomery County Health Department. You can reach them at 540-381-7100.

Washington

Babies in need is a nonprofit organization committed to assisting new parents in providing the fundamentals for their newborn’s care throughout the first three months of life. They are located in Vancouver, Canada. If you want a free car seat, you may contact them and inquire about a free one for your baby.

Arizona

The Phoenix Union High School District has launched a fantastic program that aims to distribute free car seats. This program is committed to helping low-income families who can’t afford to buy a car seat for their babies. To qualify, you must either be a biological parent or the legal guardian of a child aged 1-3 and complete a two-hour car seat lesson.

Tennessee

Shelby County’s Health Department offers free car seats in Tennessee. The department launched the Child Car Seat Program, which offers free convertible car seats to any eligible parents with children (two years old and younger) residing in Shelby County who match the program’s eligibility requirements. To qualify, you must bring your child’s birth certificate and your state ID to prove you are a Shelby resident. 

Another option is the Tennessee Department of Health. The penalties earned from non-compliant drivers are remitted back to local authorities to distribute car seats to low-income families. Contact the Department of Health at 615-741-7353.

Indiana

The Decatur Township Fire Department has teamed with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to distribute free car seats. To qualify, you must fill out a registration form and wait for a fire department representative to contact you and make arrangements for you to get your car seat. Another requirement to be eligible for a free car seat is that you must be on government assistance. 

The Community Health Network delivers healthcare services where and when people need them—in hospitals, health pavilions, doctor’s offices, businesses, schools, and homes. It is a statewide organization that assists financially challenged families. The organization’s Car Seat Program gives free car seats to all hospitals in the neighborhood. You may reach them by calling 800-777-7775 or chatting with a representative on their website.

Free Car Seat Through Insurance

Getting a free car seat from your insurance company depends on your plan. Not all insurance companies offer a free car seat. Contact your insurance provider to know whether your insurance policy includes a free car safety seat.

Fire Department’s Free Car Seat

If you still can’t find the perfect place to grab a free car seat for your baby, try your local police station and fire department. Some departments offer a short course or seminar to know which car seat is best for your baby. I have written an article where you can learn your baby’s four car seat stages.

While some may offer to help install a car safety seat and even offer to give you a free one, only some fire departments have this program. 

How to Get a Free Car Seat Through Medicaid

Medicaid provides low-income people with health insurance and is one of the leading healthcare purchasers in the United States. Not everyone is eligible for Medicaid. Federal law compels states to cover specific groups of people to participate in Medicaid. Minimum eligibility categories include low-income households, people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and pregnant women and children.

Medicaid eligibility is established on a state-by-state basis. Applying through your state’s official Medicaid website is the only reliable way to determine eligibility. Before applying, ensure you are ready for a phone interview and provide proof of income. 

After your interview, there is no definite time for approval since verifying eligibility differs from one individual to the next. However, if you are accepted into Medicaid, you will be given a health insurance card. 

Once approved, Medicaid only requires you to enroll in a course on correctly utilizing a car safety seat for your child. After taking the course, provide proof of completion, and there you have it—a free car seat! Contact a Medicaid representative to learn more about Medicaid’s approved online classes.

WIC Free Car Seat Program

Another way to get a free car seat is through WIC’s program. The program protects low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding mothers, newborns, and toddlers up to the age of five. 

Most parents who are approved to obtain a free car seat are those who can’t afford to buy one. The kind of car seat you will receive will be based on your location and program guidelines. 

  • Some moms receive free car seats, which they can keep. 
  • Others can have a cheaper car seat than those on the market. 
  • Some states only offer loaners until you can purchase your baby’s own car seat. You will have at least 1-6 months to return the car seat to your local WIC’s office. 

If you want to find out your qualifications for WIC, go to their website to learn more and apply. 

Get a Free Car Seat through Organizations

If you require further options, you might inquire with different organizations. Here are two examples of such organizations:

Safe Kids Worldwide

One of the most trusted organizations is Safe Kids Worldwide. This organization’s main priority is providing children with proven safety measures. They are dedicated to protecting children from harm. Over 400 Safe Kids coalitions exist across the United States. You may contact a local Safe Kids Coalition to find out where you obtain a free car seat for your child.

Everyday Miracles

Everyday Miracles is an organization dedicated to assisting low-income families. It aims to improve maternal health and reduce health disparities. One of their programs is to give out free car seats to families who can’t afford them. 

You must complete the request form and wait for a service representative to contact you and guide you through the next steps. 

Conclusion

If you cannot afford a car seat for your baby, you don’t have to worry too much about it! There are numerous ways and resources to obtain a free car seat to ensure your baby’s safety during trips. 

You can always contact local organizations or your police station and fire department to inquire if they offer a free car seat. But before anything else, you must ensure that the car seat you will be getting is safe for your baby.

Having a baby can be exhausting and costly. Now you know that if you require help or assistance for your baby’s needs, many organizations, support groups, or programs can help you.

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren