There are many ways to get a free car seat if you are a new parent struggling to purchase a car seat for your kid. One of the ways to get a free car seat is by Medicaid. But, you must meet all the criteria set by Medicaid before you are allowed a free car seat.
If you are already registered on Medicaid, it is almost certain that you would be entitled to a free car seat over Medicaid. The only additional criteria that you must follow: attend a short course on car seat safety.
The more challenging part is being eligible for Medicaid itself. If you are not eligible, do not worry! Without spending a dime, there are still means to get a car seat. We will go into these alternates at the end of the article. But first, let us talk about whether you are entitled to a free car seat by Medicaid.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is the government-sponsored insurance program in the United States. It is for people of any age who cannot afford healthcare. It could also be called a healthcare program plus not an insurance program.
The services contain the aid of low-income families and people in paying for hospital stays. And doctor visits, longstanding medical, custodial care costs, and more. Today, Medicaid has appeared as the most significant source of funding and is one of the biggest payers for healthcare in the United States.
Eligibility for Free car seat by Medicaid
Car seats are vital for your kid’s safety while in the car. Since the kids are so small, the usual safety actions of using a safety belt are not sufficient. The government realizes the need for car seats, While Medicaid is typically thought of as being for health insurance. And almost all states of the USA cover car seats as part of their Medicaid programs.
Beforehand you get your ticket for a free car seat, here are the conditions you must meet.
You will have to be US Permanent Residents and Citizen Only
If you are a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, you are only qualified for Medicaid.
Medicaid is a government-insurance program by the United States. It objects to supporting less privileged individuals who cannot afford quality healthcare.
Other nationalities are not eligible for this insurance program.
Household Income and Number of total Dependents
As the livelihood is diverse from the others, every state has a different opinion on how to evaluate the income statement of an individual.
You might call your local governing body that controls Medicaid and ask about the income threshold to qualify for the program. If you meet the essential income statement and the number of total dependents, you might go with the following requirements.
Exemption to Income Criteria
For those individuals who exceed the minimum earnings, there is still another method to meet condition #2. Suppose you have evidence (most probably, a medical certificate) that you have a disability. And most of your income is assigned to meet this medical expenditure. You do not have extra money to purchase a car seat, so you still passed condition #2.
Register in A Short Course for Car Seat Safety
Before Medicaid would donate you a free car seat, Medicaid wants a guarantee that you know how to use the car seat correctly. Therefore, Medicaid would ask you to join a short course that promotes car seat safety. You might enroll to register for a class. This condition aims to promote safety and alertness for using car seats. And the ways how to install a car seat correctly.
When you have met these four criteria, you could now apply to the adjacent Medicaid agency, wherever you reside. You might check this site that would guide you on how to apply online.
Medicaid will comprehensively review your application. Once they see that you are qualified for a free car seat, they would offer you the medical service from any medical provider that Medicaid qualifies.
How to Apply for Medicaid Assistance for a Car Seat
You should Know the guidelines. Certain things might prevent you from applying to Medicaid, and in turn, getting assistance. Nationality is one such guideline. To apply you must be a US citizen.
Collect Your Documents. To apply you would need several documents showing your income, earnings, and dependents.
Note Your Disability. Even if your earnings are above the lowest, those with specified disabilities might still be capable to receive help.
Apply. Fill out the online application precise to your state. Further info could be found here.
Take the Course. In most cases, Medicaid would ask that you register in and take a short car seat safety course.
Will Medicaid Cover Special Needs Car Seats?
Adaptive car seats could often be pricier than conventional seats. The sum varies with the kind of seat, plus how specialized it is. Irrespective of the price tag, you are perhaps wondering if there are any alternatives available to you to help cover the cost.
In some circumstances, Medicaid will aid cover the expenditure of a special needs car seat. Medicaid offers health coverage, either in part otherwise in full, to low-income kids in the US. To register Medicaid’s help, you need to first be a Medicaid enrollee. There are several rules and guidelines regarding who could register in Medicaid.
Things to check before installing a free car seat
Remember to keep a few vital things in mind before installing the free car seat for your children.
Initially, get the seat from a trustworthy organization. Make sure to collect all the essential particulars of the seat. It contains the car seat history and whether it is a used one or a new part. It could be tempting to effortlessly get a used car seat from numerous untrustworthy organizations or other places. The cause you should be careful about obtaining seats because you do not know the history of the seat. The seat might have been degraded and might not be safe for use. Or it might have been involved at any time of the accident.
Look for the tag on the seat and make sure it indicates that the seats meet or exceed the Federal Motor Car Safety Standards.
If possible, ask your surgeon or pediatrician to check the seat. They will help you know your kid’s positioning along with transport needs.
Some kids need special child seats, and, to their wonder, they come in numerous specialized forms. It includes convertible seats, baby-only seats, forward-facing seats. And also contains booster seats with belt positioning. Your pediatrician is the expert who knows which kind of seat is best for your kid.
Medicaid covers the price of specialty seats if you meet all the essential documents and details. Make sure the seat from Medicaid was not a special seat made to meet the necessities of any kid in the past. Changing them to such centers would not help offer complete safety to your kids.
Alternative methods to Get a Free Car Seat
If you fail to meet the conditions for a free car seat, it is not the world’s end. There are still alternate ways to get a free car seat, and we will be talking about them below.
Ask Around: Friends, Family, And Neighbors
You might start first within your area to get a free car seat that declutters baby stuff. You might ask them for the car seat if they no longer use it. In this way, it is mutual since you help your neighbor decrease their stuff; simultaneously, it is helpful for your baby. It is a win-win state for both of you. Another means is to go to your local organization that provides free baby stuff for parents who could not afford to purchase one.
National and Local Charities
These charities typically provide a car seat for families, particularly those in need. Two of the most well-known charities are the Salvation Army plus the Assistance League. These charities offer diverse ways to help individuals who need help, and they could be in this form:
For emergencies, they give direct financial help to purchase a car seat
WIC or Women, Infants, and Children is a government association that helps mothers who are living on a lower income. People who could get help from the WIC are females who are pregnant, otherwise breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum females, infants, and kids up to their 5th birthday.
The main objective of WIC is to offer nutritional help. Therefore, it is a good place to get formula for free. However, if you successfully register in the WIC program, then you might also be capable to get a free car seat over the program also.
You might find a cheap car seat in a thrift store. Just make sure that a legit charity generates it. And carefully check if the product is safe to use. We do not want to feel that you save money from purchasing a brand new car seat. However, you spend it on paying hospital bills before an accident occurs.
Other charities might provide discount coupons or vouchers to thrift stores. Otherwise, family stores for lower-income families. This way helps them pay for the car seat at a reduced price rather than the total price.
You might also check your local police department, fire station, plus other public safety centers. Sometimes they also offer financial aid programs. Not just gives you financial aid to buy a car seat, these public safety officers might provide a free tutorial on the correct installation of a car seat.
Health or Car Insurance Company
Sometimes, your insurance provider, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, offers a free car seat program for parents with newborn kids. Your car insurance may also provide you with a free car seat. Since this can help decline the exposure of liabilities of both parties if something occurs. Thus, you might ask your insurance providers for both health and auto about car seat resources they might offer.
A car seat is mostly used inside the car to protect your little one while driving. Therefore, car manufacturers might give a free car seat for families who could not afford to purchase one. They also offer free classes on how to install a car seat correctly and other safety rules.
Here are some of the programs presented by car manufacturers that provide free car seats:
Toyota Buckle Up for Life
Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have been teaming up from 2004 to educate families about the appropriate means to use car seats. The initiative is identified as Buckle Up for Life, and it emphases on educating parents to save kids’’ lives. Buckle Up for Life is a nationwide car seat safety program. Its objective is to teach families about the appropriate use of car seats and seat belts, and offer free, new car seats to families in need.
The cause for this service is to highlight that most people do not know how to correctly use a car seat. It can lead to harm and even death for a kid. Since 2004, Buckle Up for Life has touched the lives of over 100,000 people. And delivered more than 60,000 car seats to families who could not afford their own. Though initially stationed in Cincinnati, the program has extended every year, reaching more families in more cities.
Safe Kids Buckle Up Program
Safe Kids Buckle Up, a joint venture among Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors, is the biggest child passenger safety program of its kind. It teaches parents and caregivers how to properly use car seats, booster seats as well as seat belts. The program also delivers car seats to families in need at little otherwise no cost.
While Nissan provides a complimentary car seat installation if you purchase or service your car within the last 12 months. Yet, they furthermore offer free installation services for families with very low income.
Safe Kids Coalition
Another non-profit organization that offers infant car seats is the Safe Kids Coalition. This is a global agency. So, go to your nearest Safe Kids Coalition agency plus ask for a free car seat.
Safe Kids Buckle Up offers grants to Safe Kids coalitions to convey programs at the local level and toughen laws to better protect kids in vehicles. These mostly volunteer networks include nationally licensed CPS technicians, transport safety experts, police officers, public officials, nurses, public health experts, plus others. All working together to save kids’ lives.
Why You Must Never Buy Used Car Seat
Buying used might appear like a great means to get a high-end car seat at a lower price. Though, unless you are purchasing from somebody you know well, the seat might not be safe.
Here are the risks of buying a used car seat:
Unknown history—you could not be certain that the car seat has not been over an accident, and once over a collision, seats are considered unsafe
Wear and tear—the reliability of the seat might be compromised, but the imperfection is not noticeable to the bare eye
Expiration date—several people do not understand that car seats have an expiration date plus would not be used after that time.
Expiration dates on car seats are not a joke. They are there since plastic the seat is made from expands and contracts with temperature change. That makes it more subject to cracking. In addition, the metal frames might have interior corrosion that compromises safety in a crash.
What to Check When Buying a Used /Secondhand Car Seat
Car seats are made to offer safety to your kid as it is of utmost importance. A kid is a parent’s most valuable wealth. Therefore, consider sharing this info as part of your gift in this promising act. The information mentioned above can provide you with complete details on getting a free car seat through Medicaid.
You could stay up-to-date on Medicaid rules on the authorized website. New child restraint systems offer more alternatives every year. Therefore, you could always change the free seat if a better one is available.