A car seat is one of the most important baby items parents need when expecting a child. Most hospitals will not let parents leave until a nursing staff member or pediatrician has taught new parents how to properly strap a baby into the car seat and place the car seat into the car safely.
Car seats can be expensive, depending on which type of car seats parents are looking at buying. Infant, rear-facing only carriers can cost as little as $50 and be as expensive as $200.Even the cheaper car seats still meet safety requirements, but $50 can still be a lot for some parents. You should never buy a used car seat. There are several places that offer free car seats to parents who are in desperate need.
The first place to check for a free car seat is the local WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office. If you are already enrolled in the WIC program, ask them about their free car seat program. You are required to take a class – usually an hour to two hours long – to learn about car seat safety and how to properly install a seat. Once you have completed the class, you will receive a voucher to get a free car seat.
If, for some reason (like under funding) your local WIC office doesn’t offer free car seats, ask them to you refer you to the nearest location that does offer free car seats.
Almost all health insurance companies, Medicaid included, offer car seats for free to insured pregnant or new mothers. The easiest way to find out if your insurane policies cover car seats is to check out a summary of your policy or call a customer service agent from a number on your insurance card. You will either receive a car seat directly from your health insurance coverage, or they will cover the cost up to a certain price point for you to purchase a car seat from participating retailers, like Babies R Us.
State Police and Fire Departments
Visit your local police and fire departments and ask them if they offer free car seats. You may need proof of pregnancy or proof the child is yours (such as a birth certificate). Every year, the state police receive grants to help low-income families get a free car seat to keep their babies and toddlers safe while driving.
If you go into labor and have your baby before you are able to buy a car seat, the hospital you deliver at may give you a car seatto take your baby home safely. These car seats can either be free through grants given to the hospital, or the hospital may provide them itself and will later include it in the bill sent to your insurance.
If all else fails, there is no harm in asking a family or church family for help in buying a car seat. Many people are willing to pitch in a little money to help a person in need.
Published in: Consumer Information