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New Year - New Florida Child Car Seat Law

AAA Auto Club

A number of new laws have gone into effect in the new year, including one that will affect parents of young children.

Michele Harris, the Director of Traffic Safety Culture at Triple A says parents must now have children in car seats until they reach the age of 6. the old law which Harris says was one of the weakest in the country, only required children to be in car safety seat until they reached age 4.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, at least 5 children died in 2014 and another 145 were injured because they were not in child safety seats, or the seats were installed incorrectly. Harris says nationally,"motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of children in the United States".

AAA supported the new law, although the organization would have prefered if the law concentrated on the weight and height of the child instead of age. Harris says AAA recommends that booster seats continue to be used until children reach 4 feet 9 inches tall.

There are a few exceptions to the new law...such as when a driver is not a member or a child's immediate family and is not being paid to transport the child or when a child is being transported because of a medical emergency. If families cannot afford a child seat, AAA's Michele Harris says the Auto Club may have some help. They will make some car seat available for free, but supplies are very limited and the seats will be distributed on Friday in January by appointment only. In Pensacola, parents can call 850-477-6860.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.