How to get a free car seat through Medicaid

Medicaid is available only to individuals and families who meet specified requirements and in that case you can apply to get a free car seat through Medicaid, listed below:

  1. The first and foremost requirement for receiving any services from Medicaid is your Nationality. The receivers must be legal permanent residents or citizens of the United States. Any other country National is objected from participation.
  2. The second criterion is your income statements and the number of dependants on the shown income. Every state has a different outlook in this point, which is calculated taking the average earnings required for a sustainable livelihood in that particular area.
  3. People who are above the minimum earnings criterion can also receive this fund if they have specified disabilities, which makes their medical expense eating up most of their earnings.
  4. This point is only relevant for those who have applied for free car seats. Generally Medicaid asks you to enrol in a short car seat safety course before sanctioning a free car seat. The course generally is designed to promote awareness for using car seats and proper methods and techniques about their installation.

Check whether you are eligible for receiving Medicaid, especially a car seat – by filling out an online application through the Health Insurance Marketplace website. You can directly go to the webpage by clicking this link

Alternative you can also directly apply through a state’s Medicaid agency. You can get the contact information from the above mentioned link.

Medicaid officials will review your application and if you are found eligible then you will receive free healthcare and related services from any medical provider that accepts the program.

Early this year there was a lot of hassle in CNN and BBC that Trump administration wants U.S. states to “impose work or job training requirements on people as a condition for obtaining health insurance under the Medicaid government program for the poor”. However till now no such thing has been put into action.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid in United States is the government-sponsored insurance program – for individuals of any age who cannot afford healthcare. It can also be termed as a health care program and not an insurance program. The services include assistance of low-income families and individuals in paying for doctor visits, hospital stays, long-term medical, custodial care costs and more. Today, Medicaid has emerged as the largest source of funding and is one of the largest payers for health care in the United States.

Title XIX of the Social Security Act realised the need of a medical program for individuals whose earnings and finances cannot cover the rising medical costs in Unites States. The above mentioned act authorized and created Medicaid and Medicare (another look-alike program) for this purpose. The bill was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Medicaid and CHIP (more on this soon) Services are one of the six amongst the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which operates under U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is a joint program, funded primarily by the federal government and run at the state level, where coverage may vary, however federal government has the upper hand in deciding and framing policies.

The eligibility criterion for who can participate and who will receive funds through this program rests on states policies. Every state has its own leeway in monitoring and sanctioning the received applications.

CHIP stands for “Children’s Health Insurance Program” with its primary aim to provide health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage. It is directed by federal government and the federal government solely handles all the required funds and releases them to the required states.

If you are not qualified to receive a car seat via Medicaid for some reason, then CHIP is also a better alternative, as its pivotal focus is infants and children healthcare.

How to get enrolled in Medicaid Services and book a Car Seat for Yourself?

How does a car seat reduce the chances of injuries and accidents?

Motor vehicle crashes leading to injuries and deaths are a major concern in the states. And this is the reason seat belts for adults and car seats for infants are a must in USA. For infants and children, having a car seat is actually a legal requirement. And if your young one is caught being seated without a car seat, you will be issued a ticket for as high as 200$.

Modern vehicles need to be equipped with seat belts and child safety seats to prevent injuries. The major cause for injuries among small children is not a crash or a collision – in fact injuries are commonly caused due to sudden stops. Children are not accustomed to these stops and cannot stabilize their bodies, which leads to severe back injuries and neck jerks. And sudden stops happen now and then.

Seat belts and car seats contact the strongest parts of the body. They spread the crash forces and other forces over a wide area and more importantly they help slow down the body protecting the vital parts, specially the head and spinal cord.

According to survey analysis reports by numerous health and road safety organisations – Car seats for kids reduce the risk of an injury by an average 75 percent. And a 30% decline is observed in the death rates. This is in comparison to children travelling with seat belts applied. The number shows that car seats have their own value and seat belts alone cannot help much. You cannot be content with your kid wearing a belt, because they are not of much help!

And the most important and practical question which you need to answer yourself is – whether a little care by installing a car seat is more profitable or spending bundles of dollars on your child over an accident?

How much does a Car Seat cost?

On an average most infant car seats cost around $100, but it’s not uncommon to see them priced at $200 to $400! And 100$ car seats are just plastics – having no to minimal cushion for your small ones. And not everyone can afford to buy the heavy priced ones.

If you’re struggling financially, then a car seat is the last thing you buy. Most parents think that belts will do the job, but they don’t know that they are struck from two ends here.

First of all the belt is not enough!

Secondly the cars they are using do not have the best of the shock absorbers to reduce jerks and sudden sharp turns.

The best option which most parents don’t know is that you can get a car seat for free!

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for getting a free car seat.

Things you need to check before installing a free car seat for your infant

There are some very important things you need to take care of before installing the seat you receive for free.

  1. First of all get a car seat from a trusted organization which provides you with the necessary details of the seat – for example history of the car seat, and whether if it is a used one or a new piece.

It might be tempting to get a used car seat easily from several non-trusted organisations or from places like garage sales, thrift sores and consignment stores. The reason you need to be cautious while getting seats from these organisations – is because you don’t know the history of the seat you’re getting. The seat may have been a degraded one and might have become unsafe to use, or the seat may have been involved in a crash.

  1. Check the label on the seat and make sure it states that the seat meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  2. If possible get the seat verified by your paediatrician or surgeon – who will explain you about your child’s positioning and transportation needs.
  3. Some children need special child seats and to your surprise they come in several specialised forms such as infant-only seats, convertible seats, forward-facing seats/restraints or belt-positioning booster seats. Your paediatrician is the best person to decide which type best suits your kid. Medicaid covers the cost of specialised seats when all the required details and documents are fulfilled.
  4. Make sure that the seat you got from Medicaid was not a special seat which was made to fit a child with special needs in the past. Your alteration to such seats will not help your kids. Never use an altered car seat unless it has been crash tested with the change.
  5. If your child reaches the top weight or height recommended mentioned in the label then never over use the seat. An unfit seat possesses more damage than a no seat.
  6. You can stay up-to-date on Medicaid policies – displayed on their website. New child restraints offer more options every year, so you can always change the seat if a better one is available for your child.
  7. Did you know that four out of five car seats are incorrectly installed? Car Seat Technicians deliver your seat and provide education to safely install and use it.

Keep the number of Child Passenger Safety Technician of your area handy. They are very helpful in assisting you in fitting a car seat and as well if you report any accident on incident. You can find one on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Technician Contact Locator.

How to get a Free Car Seat if Medicaid does not approve your application

Medicaid is a government organization – but there are many private and state funded organizations too – where you can apply for a free car seat. Below is a list of 36 states with links to the responsible websites. You can check if it works for your state.

  • Alabama

USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital

  • Arizona

Phoenix Day Child & Family Agency

  • California

Pacific Safety Center “Keep ‘Em Safe Program” – Provides a free car seat to individuals with a household income below 200% of poverty

  • District of Columbia

Providence Hospital – Reduced price of $20 for a car seat

  • Delaware

Delaware Opportunities Inc. Car Seat Safety Program – Automatic eligibility if you have proof of Medicaid certificate

  • Florida

Florida Farm Bureau – Reduced price COSCO car seat for $25 (1/3 the retail cost)

  • Georgia

Department of Public Health North Central Health District – For enrolled members with Medicaid

  • Idaho

Canyon County Paramedics Organization

  • Indiana

Project LOVE: – If you participate in any public assistance program then you can get vouchers for free car seats for kids, provided you are a resident of Indiana.

  • Iowa

Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Stork’s Nest and Family Nest Program

Participants can earn points for healthy behaviours, which can be redeemed for items such as a car seat.

  • Kentucky

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicaid

  • Maine

Department of Public Safety Bureau of Highway Safety

  • Maryland

Providence Hospital – Free car seats are not available but you can get it at a reduced price of $30.

  • Massachusetts

For members of the Fallon Community Health Plan who enroll in the Oh Baby! Program

  • Minnesota

Office of Traffic Safety

  • Mississippi

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation – Free car seats are not available but you can get it at a reduced price of $30.

  • Montana

City of Great Falls Montana Health Department

  • Nevada

Renowned Children’s Hospital – Offers eligibility to receive a car seat for $10 if income guidelines are met

  • New Hampshire

Well Sense Health Plan

If your child weighs anywhere between 5 and 65 lbs then you can receive a free car seat or a booster seat and if you have twins then you are entitled to receive two seats.

  • New Mexico

Lovelace Health Plan

Parents can receive a free car seat after a child receives all required immunizations.

  • New York

Ardent Solutions

Free car seats are made available to low income parents and legal guardians of children until the child is ready to ride safely.

North Carolina

Welcome Baby Program

Free car seats are not available but you can get it at a reduced price of $10.

  • North Dakota

City of Bismarck

A limited number of car seats might be available to families with low incomes

  • Ohio

The Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) Program

  • Oklahoma

Infant Crisis Services, Inc. – Free car seats are not available but you can get it at a reduced price of $10.

  • Oregon

Kohl’s Car Seat Clinic

  • Pennsylvania

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Must have a referral from a healthcare provider, a green EBT Access card, and photo identification

  • South Dakota

South Dakota Department of Social Services

  • Tennessee

Shelby County Health Department

  • Texas

Texas Department of State Health Services

  • Utah

Salt Lake County Health Department – Offers booster seats as low as $13 and car seats as low as $30, but this depends on your average yearly income.

  • Virginia

Virginia Department of Health Low Income Safety Seat Program – The program offers free safety seats and booster seats for income eligible children.

  • Washington

Coordinated Care Health Plan Start Smart Program

  • West Virginia

Gabriel Project

  • Wisconsin

Kenosha County Car Seat Program

  • Wyoming

Kohl’s Car Seat Distribution Program

How to get a Free Car Seat if the above agencies don’t work for you, or if your state is not listed in the above pages

  • Contact the social worker of the hospital where you gave birth. Free Car Seats are generally covered in their social activities. They might be able to arrange some donator for a car seat or refer you to the maternity division for further help.
  • You health plan card has a toll free number printed on the back of it. Ask them for the required need, and they might provide it, or they can give you some valuable information as to whom to approach.
  • Contact your state traffic or highway safety organization.
  • Call your city’s health department to find out if they have any current programs for free or reduced price car seats.


Remember that Car seats are designed to keep your child safe while in the car and the safety of children is of the utmost importance. Arrange for a car seat however possible. Sometimes even small jerks leave big and lasting impressions on your child.

Whatever new information regarding free car seats or low cost ones comes to our hand, we will share it on this page. If you come across any, please contact us or comment below, so that we can create a large useful database for the required parents.

A child is a parent’s most treasured wealth, so consider sharing this information as your part of donation in this good act.

Britax Car Seat Expiration: What does it mean?

Britax car seats are counted among the most popular. Like most reliable manufacturers of car seats, Britax puts on an expiry date for all their car seats. If you would like to learn more about expiry dates on car seats and their purpose, please read the information below.

Why Do Car Seats Have an Expiry Date?

Parents may not be aware that the United States government does not have an official regulation where expiry dates on car seats are concerned; this means that manufacturers are not obligated to put on an expiry date at all. However, the more reliable and known manufacturers do put such a date on there for safety considerations.

There are many reasons why car seats should have a clear expiry date. One of the first reasons is the fact that the industry is constantly changing, which means there are plenty of improvements in technology and standards. While an older seat may not seem like a problem, however, it can lack some lifesaving advancements some of the newer car seats have.

When it comes to the longevity of your car seat, there are also the materials to take into consideration. Even the strongest materials wear down over time. A car seat needs to be safe, so the expiry date of your car seat must lay within the expiry date of the construction materials used.

In addition to the limited lifespan of the materials, car seats are tested for a particular lifespan as well; this means that the safety of the car seat is only guaranteed for a limited time.

Over time, manufacturers can also recall some of their car seats. If you have an older car seat, it is possible that you will not receive a recall notice. For example, if you have obtained a car seat from a family member, you would not know that this car seat has been recalled due to a manufactural error. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your car seat up-to-date and not purchase any second-hand car seats.

How Long Does A Car Seat Last?

Most car seats have a lifespan between six to ten years. If you cannot find the expiry date stamped on the car seat itself, always look for the manufacturer label; this should have the date on which the car seat was manufactured.

As a general rule, you should think about replacing a car seat six years after the date of manufacturing.

How Do I Test A Car Seat for Faults or Defects?

There are some simple ways to check a car seat for faults or defects. As a general rule, any faults or defects can show up during the use of the car seat. Below, we will provide some examples of how such defects can become apparent.

One of the signs it is time to replace a car seat is if the seat is too loose in the car. If the seat is not tight enough, it could lead a child to bump into the front seat when a collision occurs. Therefore, this is a problem that must be addressed immediately, and the car seat should not be used at all.

The harness is another aspect of the car seat that should be checked regularly. Check the harness for common signs of wear and tear, but also make sure that the harness fits snugly around the child. A loose or worn-down harness could cause your child to be thrown from the seat in case of a collision.

Finally, you should always check if a car seat has been recalled or not. You can easily check your car seat by checking the model name and number against the list of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How Should I Store A Car Seat to Extend Its Lifespan?

If you do not use your car seat every day, you can extend the lifespan of the car seat by storing it appropriately. If available, always store the seat in the original manufacturer’s box and seal the box. Then, place the box in a safe and dry location.

Parents who do not have the original car seat box can wrap the car seat in a sheet or blanket. Much like you would with a cardboard box, it is essential to store your car seat away from any moisture or extreme temperatures, as these could damage some of the plastic components on the car seat.

Should I Replace A Car Seat After A Collision?

Much like a motorcycle helmet after a collision, it is advised to change a car seat after a collision. If the car seat has been involved in a collision, some of the internal materials could have encountered damage.

While such damage may not be visible by the naked eye, it can still be present and influence the safety and functionality of the car seat. Therefore, always replace a car seat that has been in a collision.

Can I Use A Second-Hand Car Seat?

If a car seat has been stored properly and never been part of a collision, it is not a problem to use a second-hand car seat. That being said, you must make sure that the car seat meets the criteria; this includes that the car seat has been stored properly and that it has not expired.

Parents who buy a second-hand car seat online should always ask for a photograph of the manufacturer’s label; this enables parents to work out the expiry date. Parents should also check the construction of the car seat thoroughly upon arrival. If you believe you see signs of wear and tear, it is best to return the car seat and ask for a refund.

Is It Best to Buy A New Car Seat?

Buying a new car seat is always the best solution, as new car seats could have some safety technologies that older car seats do not have. You also do not have to worry about invisible damage, like you would with a second-hand car seat. Therefore, always buy your car seat new if you have the option.

Baby Travel Essentials – Must Have Items for Traveling with Baby

Mother and Baby on plane

Taking that first travel adventure can be an exhilarating yet unnerving experience.

While I have traveled with toddlers and big kids, nothing compares to traveling with an infant. Infants unlike toddlers actually do make for some of the most awesome travel mates. Babies do not move all over the place like toddlers and so you will not have to keep a hawk eye on them 90% of the time.

Moreover unlike toddlers, they do not require big size items like toddler beds or separate plane tickets which makes travel with them cheaper. Nonetheless with my first newborn baby, it was a daunting experience determining what I needed to pack to ensure that the kid and my family would enjoy the travel experience. 

After several years of traveling with my kids I have compiled a baby travel checklist of items that you need to have when you finally go for that vacation with the newborn. Lets get to it:

1) Eddie Bauer Back Pack Diaper Bag

Eddie Bauer Back Pack Diaper Bag

The Eddie Bauer back pack is excellent for traveling whether you are just heading out for a full day out or several weeks of traveling.

The functional and stylish item comes with all manner of features that include 11 practical pockets so that you can organize your baby stuff, spacious interior with insulated pockets of food storage, water and drink bottles, a large zippered front pocket for your cell phone, keys, and wallets.

It also does come with a changing pad so that you can change the child anywhere you are. . With adjustable and padded shoulder pads it is comfortable backpack that you can either attach tot he stroller or wear as a backpack. 

2) GB Pockit PLUS Stroller 2018

GB Pockit PLUS Stroller 2018

What I love about the GB Pockit is that it is so small and lightweight that I usually take it almost anywhere in the world. Furthermore, you can use the GB Pockit right from birth as it is designed as a 2 in 1 travel system.

Features that make this stroller the best for traveling include front swivel wheels so that you can navigate all manner of terrain from the airport floor and the busy streets when you are exploring your destination.

One of the only true stroller with a compact fold, it folds up so small so that you can pack it onto the overhead compartment in the plane or kick it into standing fold when you are out eating at a restaurant.

3) Ergobaby Omni 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Ergobaby Omni 360 All-in-One Ergonomic Baby Carrier

I love the ergobaby omni carrier and have always had one that I have had one ever since I had my first baby and went on vacation. What I love best about this baby carrier is that it is so adaptable taking any baby from the first week after birth right up to when they are 45 pounds in weight.

Moreover you never run out of options with the ergo baby as you can carry the child on the back, hip, front outward, and front inward. This makes it oh so comfortable not only for me but also for the kid. With a storage pouch I usually go shopping or sightseeing with the kid and take along all my wipes, diapers, wallet, keys and phone no problem.

4) Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup

Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup

The Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel cup has been a lifesaver for me when traveling with the baby. With a special vacuum seal lid, this sippy cup does not make unnecessary messes as it immediately seals itself once the baby stops drinking.

Moreover it does not come with all manner of accessories such as straws or spouts that could easily get lost while traveling leaving you stranded. However, my favorite feature of this cup is the lid which protects the part of the cup the child uses to drink.

As such, you can rest easy knowing that the child will not be at risk of consuming  germs from your bags bags or from the cup dropping on the floor while on the go. 

5) Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat

At only 10.4 pounds I love the Cosco Scenera and in fact I have two of them given that they are so lightweight making them excellent not only for travel in the car but also for carrying into and out of the plane. The fact that it is also an FAA Approved car seat is also a good bonus

Check out the best FAA Approved car seats for airplane travel

If you are a frequent traveler you do not want to be weighed down by a car seat that is too heavy and this is where I have found this seat the best especially for long trips where you want to be as light as possible. The car seat is suitable for infant from birth at 5 pounds up to a maximum of 40 pounds. 

6) J.L. Childress Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag

J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack Padded Car Seat Travel Bag

Carrying the car seat even if it is as lightweight as your cosco scenera or even an infant seat is not my idea of fun. This is where your car seat carrier bag becomes an essential item when you travel.

With the JL Childress Backpack Padded car seat travel bag you can stuff the car seat into the bag and carry it on your back like a backpack. With the hands free it becomes easier to roll the stroller or even your luggage on the airport floor or to and from the airport.

Moreover, checking the car seat onto the plane becomes even easier and safer as the bag protects the car seat from damage during the flight or to and from the airport. 

7) YAMIU Packing Cubes Travel Organizer

Packing cubes

They may not look like much but trust me these have been a life saver given that I have a large family and often have to pack a lot of items for the needs of the different family members. What I usually do is assign each person a cube and then the baby also gets their own for wipes, snacks, diapers among other baby essentials.

We also can include other items such as chargers, electronics and clothes in each bag so that it is easy to retrieve the items whenever they are needed either during flight or at the destination. 

8) Earth Mama Angel Baby Travel Set

Earth Mama Angel Baby A Little Something For Baby Travel Set

The little organic pack is something I have always traveled with with my infants and toddlers. The PVC-free plastic zipper couch pack which comes in different sizes comes with organic diaper balm for diaper rash, Baby oil, Baby lotion, Face/nose balm, and Sweet orange ash.

Nothing in the pack has any artificial fragrances or additives and so you do not have to worry about adverse reactions to your child while you are in the air. 

9) Brica Fold N' Go Travel Bassinet

Brica Fold N' Go Travel Bassinet

With the Brica Fold n Go Travel Bassinet I can travel with my baby without worrying about how they are going to sleep. The bassinet comes with a comfortable mattress pad and sheet, and a sturdy frame with a safe t lock system.

Given how lightweight it is I normally just fold it up and carry it in one hand and unfold it when at a friend's or family place or even at the park. When I am traveling it also comes in handy as I stash it into a bag and unfold it in seconds when the child needs to sleep.

With ventilated mesh panels and a comfortable mattress my infant usually sleep very well even when I am in the air. 

10) OXO Tot On-The-Go Essentials Value Set

OXO Tot On-The-Go Essentials Value Set

How many times have you ever checked into your hotel room only to find you have left some important items such as you spoon set or bottle brushes at home. I cannot tell you how many times the OXO Tot On-The-Go has come in handy.

The set includes ready to use diaper pouch, wipes dispenser, floppy snack pack, spoon set and bib, and drying rack with bottle brush. This compact cleaning and feeding set can get you out of having to dash to the store in the middle of the night when your child is hungry and all your items are either out of reach or dirty. 

11) phil&teds Lobster Highchair

phil&teds Lobster Highchair

If your infant is already eating solids, eating is something that you want to prepare for well even while travelling. Most high chairs are just too rigid or heavy that they will not be good for tossing into the trunk to take with you on the trip.

The best solution I have found for this is The Phil & Teds Lobster chair which is a lightweight and fordable booster chair for on the go parents. With strong rubber grips and lobster claws, you can clip the seat securely onto any table or counter top and feed the kid just as you would were you at home.

Apart from being easily fold-able into its tote bag, it is also easy to clean as the fabric comes off just as easy as its dishwasher safe food tray. 

12) Lotus folding crib

Lotus Travel Crib/play yard

This is an important item on your travel and the Lotus works really well in being lightweight and easy to use. You can take it anywhere you go in a backpack and set it up in the hotel room in less than a minute and have the child playing or sleeping. 

The Lotus is excellent as it comes with easy to wash removable covers for the inevitable spit and drool from the infant. But what i like best about this travel crib/play yard is that you can interact and play with the kid through the full side breathable mesh that can be easily opened or closed with a zipper.

13) Swaddling blankets

Muslin Baby Swaddle Blankets

Grab a couple of swaddling blankets to securely and snugly wrap your newborn either on the plane or in your hotel room. CuddleBug's is a set of four blankets that are lightweight cotton swaddles that will not weigh you down on your travel.

Having four blankets is a good thing to do particularly on a long flight or an extended trip where you may not have the time or opportunity to clean the ones that get dirty before you get to the hotel room.

14) Nursing Cover with Sewn In Burp Cloth

 Nursing Cover with Sewn In Burp Cloth for Breastfeeding Infants

One of my favorite things to carry with an infant is the Nursing cover with burp cloth sewn in for breastfeeding my little one. The good thing about this is that in comes in all manner of colors designs and patterns that could fit many of my traveling outfits. 

The nursing cover makes it easy to breastfeed in public regardless of whether am in the air or enjoying the street sounds anywhere in the world. Another cool thing about this is that it can also double up as an infant car seat cover if you dont have a dedicated one. 

15) Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub

Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub

The Munchkin is a great accessory on the road when traveling with the infant given that most hotels do not have amenities for cleaning the infant. Being inflatable you can deflate it and pack it into a bag and then inflate it to use in your hotel room at your destination.

Another great thing about this inflatable tub is that it does not need a lot of water as just a few inches will be enough to clean your kid. It also comes with white hot technology that tells you if the temperatures are too high for your kid just in case you left your thermometer at home. 

16) Medela Pump in Style with On the Go Tote

Medela Pump in Style Advanced with On the Go Tote

The Medela Pump is my go to pump when am on the road as it comes with a double electric pump that works perfectly for me all the time. Whats even better, the highly portable breast pump comes a stylish and discreet tote bag that would not stand out from your other luggage.

If you have never used the Medela do not worry as it does come with a full set of instructions on how to use the ump and its accessories including the adapters, breast Shields connectors, and valves. Moreover the pump uses a portable battery pack so that you will never be stranded without milk when you are out with the kid and cannot breastfeed. It also does come with breast milk bottles, contoured ice pack, and removable cooler bag

Check out the Medela Pump in Style with On the Go Tote on Amazon

Important Tips for Traveling with Baby

  • Prepare ahead of item if you are going to be traveling with your baby. Check out the list above and purchase all the essentials you believe you need days before the trip
  • Prepare for baby messes including baby spit up and leaky diapers - Have enough clothes for your baby including enough wipes, diapers, and food handy
  • Seal all your toiletries and medicines for the child in resealable plastic bags and set out them all out ready before the day of the trip
  • Remember the packing bags, it would be great if you kept each category of item including baby food, cleaning essentials, medicine and clothes in separate bags or pockets
  • Pack a clip on reading light so that you can read without the light disturbing the infant
  • Have your baby's pediatrician's number handy just in case you have any questions you may need to ask them while you are traveling
baby travel essentials

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Child Restraint Guidelines – Keeping Children Safe While Travelling In Vehicles

child safety restraint guide

These Child Restraint Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe - The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia. The National Guidelines provide best practice recommendations that have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

NeuRA and Kidsafe want to see all children as safe as they can be when travelling in cars. Ensuring that parents receive straightforward, consistent advice from all sources on how to keep children safe in cars is an important step in making this happen.

Rear Facing Child Restraint

Rear Facing Child Restraint

Rearward Facing Child Restraint

For children from birth, with a built-in 5 or 6 point harness, where the child faces the rear of the car. Type A in the Australian Standard.

NB. Rearward facing restraints come in three types: Type A1 for children up to 70cm tall (approx 6-9 months), Type A2 for children up to 80cm tall (approx 12 months), and a new category Type A4, for children up to 2-3 years of age.

Forward Facing Child Restraint

Forward Facing Child Restraint

Forward Facing Child Restraint

For children who have outgrown their rear facing restraint up until at least 4 years of age, with a built-in 5 or 6 point harness where the child faces the front of the car. Type B in the Australian Standard.

NB. Forward Facing restraints, Type B, fit most children up to at least 4 years of age. A new forward-facing restraint with an inbuilt harness, Type G, is now available which can be used up to approximately 8 years of age.

Booster Seat

Booster Seat

Booster Seat

For children who have outgrown their forward facing restraint up to at least 8-10 years of age, to position the lap and sash belts safely. Use of an add-on harness is not recommended. Type E, F in the Australian Standard.

NB. Booster Cushions are boosters without the back and side wings that protect the child's head. They are being phased out, except for those built into cars.

Lap sash seatbelt

Lap sash seatbelt

Lap sash seatbelt

A seatbelt that has one part that goes across the lap and another that goes over the shoulder. Use when a child is big enough to meet all parts of the '5 step test'. Only use a 'lap only belt' when there is no lap sash belt available.

Convertible Restraint
A child restraint that combines 2 or more types. These include:

Rearward/forward facing convertible

Can be converted from a rearward facing to a forward facing child restraint.

Rearward/forward facing convertible

Forward facing/booster convertible

Can be converted from a forward facing child restraint to a booster seat.

Forward facing/booster convertible

Child Restraint Guidelines Infographic

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Child Restraint Guidelines

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Ten Essential Things When Using Restraints

  • The Use of any restraint is preferable to not using a restraint. Most injuries happen when part of a child’s body hits something rigid. Restraints prevent the child from being thrown out of a car and from hitting rigid parts of the car. They also distribute crash forces to the strongest parts of their body. While different types of restraints are associated with different levels of protection (depending upon the size of the child), overall there is strong evidence that a child wearing an appropriate restraint has a 30-96% lower risk of serious injury in the event of a motor vehicle crash than an unrestrained child
  • Infants are safest if they remain in their rear facing restraint as long as they still fit in their rear facing restraint. Rear facing restraints are highly effective in preventing injuries if used correctly, because they fully support the child’s head and neck in the event of a crash. This is important as infants have relatively large heads and weak necks which put them at particularly high risk of serious injuries if the head and neck are not supported. Rearward facing restraints support the child’s head and neck in severe frontal crashes better than forward-facing restraints
  • Once a child is too tall for their rear facing child restraint, they should use a forward-facing child restraint (with built-in 6 point harness) until they are too tall for itNumerous studies provide evidence that forward facing restraints, particularly those with top tether straps, as required in Australia, better protect children than an adult seat belt during a crash, all the way up to the age of 6 (and in some studies, older).  Children are best protected if the restraint straps spread the crash forces over the body, and the built-in harness in forward-facing restraints can do this better than booster seats or seat belts. Also, young children’s hip bones are not developed enough to hold a seat belt down securely in a booster seat or seat belt
  • Once a child is too tall for a forward facing child restraint, they should use a booster seat with a lap-sash seat belt until they are tall enough to fit properly into an adult seat beltIn a crash, booster seats reduce the risk of serious injuries to children too small for adult seat belts, by positioning the belt where it is safest - over the bony areas of the shoulder and pelvis rather than the neck or abdomen. Poor lap belt fit increases the risk of abdominal and head injuries. Poor shoulder belt fit increases the risk of neck injuries.
  • For a child in a booster seat or an adult seatbelt, use a seating position with a lap-sash (lap and shoulder) belt in preference to one with a lap-only belt. Lap-only belts (and lap-sash belts if the shoulder part of a lap-sash belt is not used properly) allow the upper body to be thrown forward in a crash. The shoulder part of the belt restrains the chest, and spreads the crash force over a larger body area reducing injuries to the abdomen, head and spine
  • 0
    All child restraints and booster seats must be installed correctly and the child strapped in correctly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions
    • 1
      Always use a top tether strap for all rearward facing child restraints, forward facing child restraints and booster seats that have them
    • 2
      Always thread the seatbelt through the correct path (following the colour coding available for newer restraints
    • 3
      Ensure there is no slack or looseness in any part of the system. Check the harness straps around the child, the top tether, the seatbelt anchoring the restraint to the vehicle, and the seatbelt used by a child in a booster seat

  • Children 12 years of age and under are safest in the rear seat. Injury risk to children aged 12 and under is nearly double in the front seat compared to the back seat, irrespective of restraint type

  • seat belts should never be used with the sash belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back, Lap-only belts (and lap-sash belts if the shoulder part of a lap-sash belt is not used properly) allow the upper body to be thrown forward in a crash. The shoulder part
    of the belt restrains the chest, and spreads the crash force over a larger body area reducing injuries to the abdomen, head and spine
  • When planning any journey with children, use a motor vehicle which allows each child to be in the appropriate restraint for their size. The safety issues when travelling in any vehicle are the same, irrespective of whether the vehicle is a taxi, rental car, or a private vehicle, so the safest option is to follow the best practice recommendations, even if the laws do not require it
  • Regularly check that child restraints are correctly installed and that the restraint is adjusted properly for the child's size according to the restraint users' manual. The risk of life threatening injuries has been shown to be 4-6 times greater with incorrect installation or when the child is incorrectly strapped into the restraint. While some errors are more serious than others, a combination of even minor errors can increase the risk of injury significantly