How to Get a Free Baby Car Seat (9 Clever Options) – Mom Loves Best
Is your wallet breathing a sigh of relief already? We know how big a burden the cost of raising children can be, so we want to help. we’ll go over all the ways you can get a free car seat for your child.
Reading: How to get free car seat for review
car seat costs
In 2017, the median household income for families was $61,372 (1). When you factor in taxes and other living expenses in addition to doctor and hospital bills, the numbers add up. as if you needed another thing to stress about, you have to buy a car seat, and they are not cheap.
Regardless of whether you need an infant seat or convertible seat, car seat costs can vary. Depending on the item, you’ll typically end up spending between $50 and $350.
To some, this may not sound like much. however, many of today’s parents struggle to make ends meet as they are. As important as safety is to parents, sometimes the cost of things can cause great anxiety.
We don’t want you to be alarmed. affordable car seats can still meet the same safety requirements as some more luxurious brands. If you’re still worried about the cost, there are ways to get a free car seat.
how to find free car seats
You’ll find that most of the places we’ve listed won’t be able to provide you with one directly. however, they will have the necessary resources to guide you in the right direction.
These routes should only be taken if you really feel like you’re struggling and can’t find a car seat within your budget. these programs are implemented to help those who really need it.
If there are people abusing the system, these programs can dissipate, which is a problem for those who need them most.
1. safe children around the world
safe kids worldwide is an organization committed to keeping children safe from injury. there are more than 400 different safe kids coalitions in the united states. has partners in 30 different countries to promote child safety (2).
They are a helpful resource for any query related to car seats and safety. Whether you need help with setup or financial assistance, safe kids can help you figure out what you need.
this is the organization that trains child passenger safety technicians (cpsts) in what they do. cpsts are people who go through extensive training on everything you need to know about car seats.
safe kids requires cpsts to stay informed about new car seats on the market and ever-changing safety guidelines. This is in addition to the 40-hour training required to become a CPST. Find and contact your local coalition here.
2. baby 2 baby
This is a national organization that strives to help children living in poverty ages 0-12 (3). they partner with and donate to various organizations across the country that help provide essential items to parents and children.
Over the last seven years, baby 2 baby has helped distribute more than 50 million items to families. Depending on where she lives, she may be able to get a free car seat through one of their partner organizations. find a local partner here.
3. everyday miracles
This is an organization that distributes free car seats to anyone with a qualifying state of minnesota health plan (4). If your health plan is state-funded through Blue Plus, Health Partners, or Ucare, you may be eligible for a seat.
If approved, a cpst will deliver a seat to you at home or at the hospital of your choice, completely free.
another beneficial resource, some hospitals offer car seats at a significantly reduced price, but not for free. however, they will help you find a place that may offer free car seats or brands that have inexpensive options.
To be discharged from the hospital after having a baby, parents must have an easily installed car seat. Because of this, hospitals go all out when it comes to finding a seat that fits your budget. your OB/GYN may also have resources to help you find what you need.
5. local services for women and children
Local government departments that serve women and children are an invaluable resource when it comes to things like this. exist to help women and children get the help they need.
Your local women, babies and children (wic) office or department of children’s services are two of your best options (5).
6. call “211”
“211” is a little hidden gem for anyone struggling. not only to find an affordable car seat, but also for other basic needs like food and rental assistance. It’s basically a way to find help without making a million phone calls to different departments.
this service is run by united way and works the same as “911”. when you dial 211, it will connect you to your nearest 211 call center (6). 211 is available in all 50 states and is accessible to approximately 334 million people in the United States.
7. local cpsts
You may also find comfort in your local cpst, or “child passenger safety technician.” These car seat experts are trained by Safe Kids, listed above, to help parents and parents-to-be with all things car seat related.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out where to get a car seat on your budget, cpsts can be your biggest help. They are constantly receiving additional training and need to be informed about all the car seats on the market, and they can give you some suggestions for affordable car seats that are right for your child and your vehicle.
8. police/fire department
You will find that in many places some police and fire professionals are also cpst certified. Even if they aren’t, most police/fire departments have the resources to help you find the right place to go.
9. insurance providers
This is probably less likely than your other options. however, it’s worth calling to see if your insurance will cover a free infant seat.
about buying used
Are you tempted to jump into the facebook marketplace and tell janet from the next zip code that you’re interested in her seat? I’m going to stop you right there. Unless you and Janet have been best friends since grade school, don’t take the car seat.
A reseller’s description of a car seat he wants to get rid of only goes so far. you can say things like “excellent condition” or “used with care” a million times. But unless he knows the seller and the car seat’s history, he can’t be sure it’s the truth.
The same goes for any other reseller site like craigslist or ebay. used seats can be problematic for more than one reason:
- Unknown history: If you don’t know the history, you can’t be sure you’ve never been in an accident. even minor accidents should be considered if someone offers an old car seat.
- Expiration Dates: No car seat should be used after the expiration date. over time, the seat frame can deteriorate. plastic wears down and metal can rust, compromising the integrity of the seat.
- Invisible Wear: Wear and other blemishes may not be immediately noticeable. this also compromises the integrity of the seat.
other things to consider
Just because you get a free car seat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a good quality one. There are a few key factors that you definitely need to consider when getting your seat:
- where did you get it: did you get it from a reputable organization or a friend? most organizations that give away car seats will give you a new one, but the quality may be lower if it’s not new.
- Overall Quality: If the seat looks shabby, you’ll obviously want to skip it. A car seat may look nice on the surface, but it’s worth checking inside to make sure there’s no damage. be sure to do a full inspection before putting it into use.
See also: If You Buy a New Car Is it Insured?