Free Car Seats in Missoula? Really?
Yes. As part of the Buckle Up Montana program, Drive Safe Missoula offers a limited number of free car seats to eligible Missoula County residents. The limited supply of free car seats are explicitly reserved for families who receive public assistance (i.e., SSI, SNAP, WIC, TANF, etc).
Here's how it works.
Let's say a family, who is receiving public assistance, living here in Missoula, has a 2-year-old who needs a child car seat because they found out that the car seat they were using was expired (most car seats expire six years after their manufacture date). They would follow these steps:
Call Drive Safe Missoula at 406-258-3880 for a free voucher.
Drive Safe Missoula will send the voucher to an available car seat fitting station via email.
The family would be provided with the phone number to call the car seat fitting station and schedule their visit.
Visit the car seat fitting station, as scheduled, and receive their new car seat.
Please note that the car seat fitting stations and Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians are not an installation service. They help teach and guide people through the proper procedure of installing a car seat.
More Information about our car seat program.
We have a limited number of car seats available.
Our annual budget to purchase car seats and booster seats is set at $1000, and we go through this quickly.
Our seats are reserved for families and caregivers who are receiving some form of public assistance.
We typically purchase convertible car seats (i.e., Cosco Scenara Next). Convertible car seats often provide the families with the ability to use the car seat from day one through the child's preschool years and often beyond. (5 to 40 lbs.)
We occasionally purchase Infant-only car seats for new babies weighing less than 5 pounds. These seats often have a maximum weight limit of 30 pounds.
The Booster seats we typically purchase have a weight range from 30 to 100 pounds. (i.e., Cosco Finale 2-in1 Booster Seat)
We do not take requests to purchase specific car seats; however, we may assist with car seats for children with special needs.
We do our best to purchase various colors (i.e., Grey, Blue, Pink, etc.) to accommodate different children, but we may not have your desired color choice in stock. We are often at the mercy of local retail inventories.
Naturally, working with a Certified Child Protection (CPS) tech is excellent, but there may be times when you might need to get some help online. Check out the Ultimate Car Seat Guide from Safe Kids. It's great.
Thank You and Drive Safe, Missoula.