The federal government sometimes provides free child car seats and booster seats to low-income families. Some nonprofit organizations also offer grants and programs through community groups and other agencies.
The Department of Health in some states, such as Virginia and Texas, provides free child safety and booster seats to eligible families. The Texas Department of State Health Services requires local governments to distribute at least 50 child car seats within a 12-month cycle or at least four seats per month. Low-income households that have at least one car may apply for the Safe Rider program. One of the family's primary child caregivers must attend a one-hour class about child passenger safety.
Virginia's Department of Health distributes free booster and child safety seats through its Low Income Safety Seat Distribution & Education Program. To be eligible, the family must be WIC, FAMIS or Medicaid eligible Virginia residents. The applicant must either be the legal guardian, parent or foster parent of the child and can attend a safety seat installation class.
Some private and nonprofit organizations, such as UCare and Cincinnati's Children, provide free seats as well to eligible applicants. UCare gives free car seats to members of UCare, MinnesotaCare and Prepaid Medical Assistance Program. Cincinnati's Children partners with Toyota in the Buckle Up Program, a community-based passenger safety educational program that provides free safety car seats to families in need. The program operates in 14 cities, including Chicago, Memphis, New York, Boston and Los Angeles.