It doesn’t matter if you have nothing or have everything; children’s safety is, or should be, a parent or guardian’s number one priority. Parents nowadays have access to so many online resources on ways to keep their children safe.
We use apps to guide us through milestones, sleep consultants to help with safe sleep, and follow the rules on how to feed our children the best way. Keeping our children safe in the car is another aspect to think about.
- How Much Does An Infant Car Seat Cost?
- Where to Find a Free Infant Car Seat for Low-Income Families?
- What About Second Hand?
- Pros and Cons of a Second-Hand Car Seat
- Car Seat Safety
- Types of Rear-Facing Car Seats
- Are You Using An EBT Card?
- Final Thoughts
The growing rate of car accidents…
We know from research that car seats are the safest way to look after our babies and children in the car. Unfortunately, car accidents are the leading cause of death of children between 3-14. That’s why doing everything we can to keep our babies safe while traveling is super important, whether you have millions in the bank or are struggling and living month to month.
In fact, car safety is taken so seriously, especially in the western world, that many hospitals will not allow a mother to leave the hospital in a car without a car seat. Nurses and midwives will train you on how to safely put children in the car seat, and they offer this advice to parents before they leave. There really is no excuse.
So, let’s find out Where to Find a Free Infant Car Seat for Low-Income Families.
How Much Does An Infant Car Seat Cost?
Infant car seats can cost between $10-$400. I’ll touch on the cheaper option later. Most importantly, they must reach all safety regulations regardless of the price.
They do add up, especially if you have to buy them through the years, but there are ways to save money on your infant’s seat. Low-income families can get their hands on a car seat completely free. Let’s take a look at how to do just that…
Where to Find a Free Infant Car Seat for Low-Income Families?
Between birth and age two, the average cost of having a baby is $12,680 per year. Therefore, it is important to use any assistance you are eligible for to get diapers, formula, baby food, and other supplies.
There are many organizations throughout the US to help low-income families get car seats for their children. There is no denying kids are expensive, and with all the new gear that comes out, you wonder how our ancestors ever lasted without the latest rocker or Ewan, the dream sheep.
Safe Kids Worldwide
A group called Safe Kids Global dedicated itself to protecting kids from harm. In the US, there are more than 400 Safe Kids coalitions. It works with partners in 30 nations to increase children’s safety. They are a useful source for any questions you may have concerning safety and car seats.
Safe Kids can help you evaluate what you require, whether you require assistance with installation or financial support. Child passenger safety technicians (CPSTs) are trained in their profession by this organization. CPSTs receive in-depth training on all the essential car seat information and are up-to-date on all the newest models.
Your Local Hospital
When leaving the hospital, you must have a car seat for your child. Therefore the hospital can inform you on how to get one. If you don’t have much money, they may be able to offer you a discounted seat. If not, some hospitals have donated car seats that they can offer to low-income families or direct you to the right people who can help you get one.
Of course, this depends on your local hospital and its rules. You can call your nearest hospital for more information. It’s best to plan ahead and do this before. You don’t want to be worrying about getting a car seat, having just given birth to your precious new little bundle.
Baby2Baby is an organization that works to assist young people living in poverty who are under the age of 12. They collaborate with and give to several organizations nationwide that assist in giving parents and kids access to essential items. Car seats definitely count as an essential item.
Baby2Baby has assisted in the distribution of more than 50 million products to families over the past seven years. You might be able to obtain a free car seat through one of their partner organizations, depending on which state you live in.
Social services and the DSS offices can offer some resources regarding car seats. Some local governments, including Texas and Florida, have worked with charitable organizations and nonprofits like the Salvation Army. To receive something from these organizations, the families or parent has to show they are a low-income family or living in poverty.
In general, to use social services, someone must receive public assistance to qualify for a free infant car seat from the government. Benefits like SNAP food stamps, TANF cash assistance, Medicaid, or WIC usually mean that they are eligible for free items. Parents will frequently receive assistance from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
WIC (Women, Infant, and Children)
WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition for women, infants, and children) have a free car seat program where anyone can enquire about receiving one for their child or unborn child.
They require most people to enroll in a free car seat safety class, and in turn, you will receive a voucher to buy a seat. If your local WIC doesn’t run this program, you can ask them to guide you in the right direction for something similar.
Some training never hurt…
If you are eligible for WIC, you’ll likely be eligible for Medicaid, which also provides free car seats. Before providing a free car seat, Medicaid typically requires that you sign up for a brief course on car seat safety. The training intends to improve awareness of the right methods and techniques for installing them as well as their use. Some insurance companies offer complimentary car seats to insured expectant mothers or new mothers.
Buckle up for Life
To date, 61,858 car seats have been given to low-income families via Buckle up for Life. They work on a nationwide scale and partner with other groups locally to offer parents around the states information, training, and education. Families that attend their child passenger safety classes and are in need are eligible to get a free car seat. They even have instructions on their website on how to install it safely.
For anyone struggling, they can Call “2-1-1,” which can help with many different issues, such as food, rent, and basic needs, in addition to finding an affordable car seat. It’s a way to get assistance without having to make a ton of phone calls to various departments.
This service, which functions like “9-1-1,” is run by United Way. Around 334 million Americans can use the 2-1-1 service, which is accessible in all 50 states.
Whether or not you’re religious, the church is another way to access donated items. It might be clothes, hygiene products, or a car seat. The church is there to help. They may not physically be able to hand you one, but they’ll likely have the right connections to people who can help. You never know; a local churchgoer may be generous and offer you a used or brand-new model too.
This is quite unlikely, but as the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get it! It’s worth checking in with your car insurance provider and asking them if they have any car seat offers available for low-income families. Again, it all depends on your provider.
What About Second Hand?
There’s a lot of advice out there on buying second-hand car seats. Whether it’s people telling you not to or others boasting about their cheap purchase from the Facebook marketplace, it’s really up to you.
Parents often know how hard it can be and offer free car seats, clothing, and toys on Marketplace. However, you must ask about the previous use of the car seat. For example, has it been in an accident, was it previously purchased second hand and of course, how to use it properly?
Pros and Cons of a Second-Hand Car Seat
- Cheap: The price will be far lower than a brand-new car seat from a store.
- Landfill: Using a second-hand car seat is helping contribute less to landfill and saving something that’s still useful from adding waste.
- Unknown history: You cannot be certain that the car seat has not been in an accident, and seats are deemed unsafe after a crash
- Wear and tear: The seat’s structural integrity may be affected, but you can’t always see it.
- Expiration date: Many people are unaware that car seats have an expiration date after which they should no longer be used.
Car Seat Safety
In recent years, parents were advised to keep their children rear-facing in a car seat until they are two years old. Now studies show that children should be rear-facing to around four years old. Of course, many factors can determine this too. If you’ve got a really tall 4-year-old and they are extremely uncomfortable, they may not be able to stay rear-facing.
Why is Rear Facing the Safest option?
Due to the positioning of children’s heads in the car seat, facing front can cause serious whiplash and cause trauma to toddlers. In younger infants, it can result in much worse.
Car seats come with an instruction manual that will advise you on the weight and features. For example, when to move the headrest up, when to remove the back of the seat (depending if you have one from birth to four years), and what weight and height it is advised that you stop them rear facing.
Types of Rear-Facing Car Seats
These seats are fantastic. They grow with your child, so you can use them from birth up to their booster seats. They should only be used in the car and don’t have bases or handles. Compared to other types of rear-facing seats, they are also significantly larger and have higher weight and height restrictions. Make sure the all-in-one car seat you choose will fit in your vehicle because it is a larger seat.
As your child exceeds the weight and height restrictions for rear-facing seats, you can switch these seats from rear-facing to forward-facing. Convertible seats are often larger and lack bases and carrying handles. They usually include a five-point harness that fastens at the hips, shoulders, and between the legs.
Rear Facing Only Seats
These seats are usually for newborns and come with a base in the car. They also usually have a handle which is extremely useful if your little one is fast asleep and you want to go somewhere. Often, they come with pram attachments, too, so you can easily pop them from the car to the stroller. These seats are usually smaller and fit in smaller vehicles.
Are You Using An EBT Card?
Well then, before you head out for your weekly shopping, you’ll be interested to know Does Whole Foods Take EBT, Does Walgreens Take EBT WIC And Food Stamps, and Does Dollar General Accept EBT And Food Stamps, along with Does Sams Club Take EBT, and Does Publix Take EBT, for your local grocery stores?
Additional assistance you can apply for includes Free Appliances For Low Income Families, Free Or Cheap Furniture For Low Income Families, and Free Gas Vouchers For Low Income Families, followed by Free Refrigerator for Low Income Families and Free Internet for Low-Income Families.
Remember, a car seat is one of the products you’ll buy your child that has the potential to save their Life. So don’t skip it no matter your financial state; there is always help out there. Take your time and find the right people to guide you in the right direction.
Whether it be your local church or calling 2-1-1, there’s always a way. Most people can’t refuse to help a child or an unborn child, so you have that on your side! Remember, if you’re thinking about getting a free used car seat, make sure you know the history and ensure the car seat is in good condition.
Good Luck and safe driving!