If you’re a new parent who’s struggling to buy a car seat for your child, there are ways to get a car seat for FREE. One of the few ways to get a free car seat is through Medicaid. However, before you will be granted a free car seat, you must meet all the criteria set by Medicaid.
If you’re already on Medicaid, then it’s almost certain that you will be eligible for a free car seat through Medicaid. The only additional criteria that you must meet: attend a short course on car seat safety.
The harder part is qualifying for Medicaid itself. If you don’t qualify, don’t fret! There are still ways to get a car seat without spending a dime. We’ll go into these alternatives near the end of the article. But first, let’s talk about whether you’re eligible for a free car seat through Medicaid.
Becoming Eligible For A Free Car Seat Through Medicaid
Car seats are absolutely essential for your child’s safety when they’re in the car. Because they’re so small, the usual safety measures of using a safety belt are not enough. While Medicaid is usually thought of as being for health insurance, the government sees the necessity of car seats and almost all states cover car seats as part of their Medicaid programs.
Are you already on Medicaid? Here are the criteria you must meet before you get your ticket for a free car seat.
Eligible For US Citizen And Permanent Residents Only
You’re only eligible for Medicaid if you are a legal and permanent resident or citizen of the United States.
This is because Medicaid is a government-insurance program by the United States, which aims to support less fortunate individuals who cannot afford quality healthcare.
Other nationalities are not covered by this insurance program.
Household Income And Number Of total Dependents
Every state has a different point of view on how to assess the income statement of an individual since the livelihood is different from the other.
You may call your local governing body that administers Medicaid and ask what is the income threshold (for a certain number of total dependents) to be eligible for the program. If you meet the required income statement and the number of total dependents, you may go with the next requirement.
Exemption To Income Criteria
For those people who exceed the required minimum earnings, there is still another way to meet criteria #2. If you have a proof, (most likely, a medical certificate) that you have a disability and most of your income is allocated to meet this medical expense that you do not have extra money to buy a car seat; therefore, you still passed criterion #2.
Enroll In A Short Course For Car Seat Safety
Before Medicaid will grant you a free car seat, Medicaid wants an assurance that you know how to properly use the car seat; therefore, Medicaid will ask you to enroll in a short course that promotes car seat safety. You may enroll at Buckle Buddies to register for a class. Well, this requirement aims to promote safety and awareness for using car seats and the ways on how to install a car seat properly.
Once you have met these four criteria, you can now apply through the nearest Medicaid agency, where you reside. You may check this site that will guide you on how to apply online.
Medicaid will thoroughly review your application, and then once they see that you are eligible for a free car seat, they will issue you the medical services from any medical provider that is accredited by Medicaid.
Alternative Ways To Get A Free Car Seat
If you fail to meet the requirements for a free car seat, it’s not the end of the world. There are still alternative ways to get a free car seat and we will be talking about them below.
Ask Around: Friends, Family, And Neighbors
To get a free car seat, you may start first within your neighborhood who declutter baby stuff. You may ask them for the car seat if they no longer use it. In this way, it’s mutual since you help your neighbor to reduce their stuff, at the same time it is beneficial for your baby. It’s a win-win situation for both of you. Other ways are to go to your local organization that gives free baby stuff for parents who cannot afford to buy one.
DSS Offices And Social Service
Some states are in partnership with local charities and foundations such as the Salvation Army, which may give free car seats to parents with newborn children. In order to get a free car seat, the family must be in poverty and have a very low income.
To utilize government programs as your resources for a car seat, you must have done some sort of public aid in order to qualify. These government programs may offer a car seat as benefits:
You may check this site to get the full list of DSS contact.
Community service for inspecting car seats and boosters may be used to get a no-cost car seat through NHTSA referral. However, the inspection is done by public safety and health officers such as the police department, hospital staff, and clinics. Therefore, your task is to check with either the government office or with the police department for any information regarding the installation services of car seats since they usually get referrals to no-cost car seats.
Local And National Charities
These charities usually give a car seat for families, especially those in need. Two of the most known charities are the Salvation Army and the Assistance League. These charities offer different ways to help people who need help and they can be in this form:
- For emergencies, they give direct financial assistance to buy a car seat
- You may find a discounted car seat in a thrift store. Just make sure that it is generated by a legit charity and thoroughly inspect if the product is still safe to use. We do not want that feeling that you save money from buying a brand new car seat; however, you spend it in paying hospital bills when an accident occurs.
- Other charities may provide a voucher or discount coupons to thrift stores or family stores for families with very low income. In this way, it helps them pay for the car seat at a discounted price, rather than paying for the whole price.
You may also check your local police department, fire station, and other public safety centers because sometimes they also offer financial assistance programs. Not just in terms of giving you financial assistance to buy a car seat, these public safety officers may offer a free tutorial on the proper installation of a car seat. Since what is the point of having a car seat if you do not know how to install and make use of it.
Since a car seat is mainly used inside the car to restrain your little one while driving; therefore, car manufacturers may give a free car seat for families who cannot afford to buy one. They also offer free classes on how to install a car seat properly and other safety guidelines.
Here are some of the programs offered by car manufacturers that give free car seats:
While Nissan provides a complimentary car seat installation if you buy or service your vehicle within the last 12 months. However, they also offer free installation services for households with very low income.
Another non-profit organization that offers infant car seats is the Safe Kids Coalition. This is a worldwide agency; therefore, go to your nearest Safe Kids Coalition agency and ask for a free car seat.
Health Or Auto Insurance Company
Sometimes your insurance provider such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield offers a free car seat program for parents with newborn infants. Your auto insurance may also give you a free car seat since this can help in lessening the exposure of liabilities of both parties if something happens. Therefore, you may ask your insurance providers for both health and auto about car seat resources they may offer.