VALDOSTA -- Parents and their children got a chance Saturday to keep safer in the car -- for free.

The Greater Lowndes Coalition, in conjunction with the Valdosta Fire Department, J.C. Penney, radio station WHLJ and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority hosted a highway safety event in which free literature and car booster seats were given out to parents and their children.

"This is our kickoff for the Thanksgiving season," said Dr. Ronnie Mathis, region director for the Greater Lowndes Coalition. "Click it or Ticket is starting soon, and with the new law requiring six-year-olds and under to be in a booster seat, we felt this would be a great service."

Mathis said the coalition does several of the booster seat giveaways a year, and citizens can also go to Fire Station One or talk to Valdosta Fire Chief J.D. Rice for a booster seat.

To get a seat, parents had to bring their child and their car to J.C. Penney at Colonial Mall Valdosta to get a seat from firefighters. Parents would have to fill out a form for the seat, and the firefighters would show the parents the proper way to buckle their children in. The seats were for children between 40 and 80 pounds.

Mathis said the booster seat drive got great results.

"We couldn't begin until the firefighters got here around 10: 15 a.m.," he said. "We had people waiting in line for a seat. By noon, we had given away about 30 seats."

Along with the seats, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters passed out literature on highway safety.

"These ladies have been volunteering with us for years and they are an absolute blessing and joy to work with," Mathis said.

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