The law in Minnesota is changing on July 1, and after that date children aged under 8, and under 4'9" tall, must ride in a car seat or booster seat. Most child safety organizations agree that in an accident, a small child using a booster seat has a better chance of avoiding serious injury that one using an adult seat belt alone.
Purchasing car seats is a considerable expense for many families, but as car accidents are a leading cause of deaths and serious injuries among young children, health care organizations in the Twin Cities have programs to give low-income families free, or reduced cost car seats and booster seats.
Depending on availability, some pregnancy care centers, such as Total Life Care Center with centers across Minnesota and Wisconsin, help new and expectant mothers with car seats and other baby supplies and equipment.
Most of these programs focus on the more expensive car seats for infants and toddlers. The only one providing booster seats is the Metropolitan Health Plans car seat program who provide car seats and booster seats for children up to age eight. Their car seat coordinator can be reached at 1-800-500-8635.
If you don't qualify for assistance through any of these programs, what is the best value booster seat you can buy? Booster seats are less expensive than infant and toddler seats, with many models costing under $30. Searching for the cheapest booster seat on the market, I found this booster seat from Cosco costing $16 at Walmart, also available for $16.09 at Target.