BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Daytona Beach AAA offices will join with offices nationwide to give away car seats this month. The seats are being offered to the public as a way to increase the awareness of a new law that requires children under age 6 to be in a car seat or booster seat.
Beginning Jan. 1, every motor vehicle operator in Florida was required to use a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device for children until age 6. Before the law took effect, the cutoff age was 3 years old. Children ages 4 and 5, previously allowed to ride in cars with just a seatbelt, must use child-safety or booster seats under the new law.
A spokesperson at the AAA location on International Speedway Boulevard told the Daytona Times that the organization is offering the free car seats every Friday in January by appointment. This Friday, Jan. 9 is completely booked with appointments but times are still available for Jan. 16, 23 and 30.
The child has to be between 4 and 6 years old and the parent and the child must come into the office together.
Parents do not have to be an AAA member.
“I’m happy that the law has gone into effect,” Jovan Newby, mom of 7-year-old Jamal told the Times. “I am a preschool teacher so I am constantly reading about safety issues when it comes to children. After I found out that children are much safer in a booster seat even up to 9 or 10 years old, I think it is a must to have them in one.”
Jamal says he doesn’t particularly like riding in the car seat but he likes that it keeps him safe. “And Mommy always has snacks in the cup holders for me,” he added.
AAA said car crashes are one of the leading causes of death among kids ages 1 through 9 and recommends car seats for any child who is 4 feet, 9 inches or shorter.
Visit www.aaa.com to find a location near you.