White Memorial Medical Center launched a program last week to distribute nearly 400 baby seats in time to help parents comply with a new state law.
Low-income mothers who deliver their babies at the hospital through January will qualify for the free car seats.
The hospital will also lend baby seats to parents who are not affiliated with the hospital who cannot afford to buy the seats, said hospital spokesman John Echeveste.
Those parents will be able to borrow the seats for three months with a $20 deposit.
A state law that took effect Friday requires children 4 or younger or smaller than 40 pounds to be restrained in a safety seat. Hospitals must inform parents or guardians of the law.
Women's Hospital at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center will give out 150 seats that were donated by the California Highway Patrol, said hospital spokesman Harvey Kern.
At White Memorial, Kathy Robinson, director of women's services, said: "We deliver an average of 450 babies a month at our hospital and I would estimate that at least 350 of those families can't afford a car seat."
White Memorial's giveaway was made possible by Primerica Financial Services Corp. of Duluth, Ga., which is distributing 10,000 seats nationwide in its Operation Baby Buckle safety program. Primerica will provide the seats at a cost of about $7,500, Echeveste said.