BCAA offers first free roadside assistance program for kids in North America

CAA Plus and Premier Members' kids get free roadside service in any car with BCAA

BURNABY, BC, Feb. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - B.C. Family Day promotes together time but, for many busy families, competing schedules often mean kids are transported to and from activities by a variety of vehicles and drivers. That's why BCAA is launching its new "Kids Go Free" program, to help parents ensure their kids can get to their destinations.

Starting on B.C. Family Day (February 10, 2014), BCAA will extend its emergency roadside assistance service for free, to children under 16 of CAA Plus or Premier Members. This means Members' kids will always have the security of roadside assistance - whichever vehicle they're travelling in.

According to BCAA's transport trends study conducted last summer with 500 B.C. parents of children aged under 16, children are transported regularly in vehicles belonging to someone outside of their household at least two times per week; and close to three times per week for children between the ages of 13 to 15.

"Kids are being driven around in a lot of different cars by grandparents, caregivers, family friends, and sports coaches. No parent wants to worry about their child being stranded because of a mechanical breakdown," says Ken Cousin, BCAA's associate vice president of Road Assist. "BCAA is excited to be the first North American Automobile Association to provide a Kids Go Free service as a permanent Membership benefit to support parents, and the adults they rely on to transport their kids."

BCAA Members with CAA Plus or Premier Memberships can register their children under the age of 16 for free by going to the website, bcaa.com/kids, which also provides more details about the Kids Go Free program.  Once registered, Members' kids will be mailed their very own Membership card for them to carry and show when requesting BCAA roadside assistance.

To help keep kids safe on B.C. roads, BCAA offers the following advice to parents and other caregivers who transport children in their cars.

Passenger safety tips

  • Place young children in the back seat - Children under 145 cm, which is four feet nine inches, should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle that has an active air bag.
  • Choose the correct child car seat or seat belt - Although B.C. law allows children over nine years old to use a seat belt, the best protection depends on a child's weight and height.
  • Use the child car seat or seat belt correctly - Incorrectly attaching the child car seat in the vehicle, putting the harness in the wrong position or having the seatbelt too loose can lessen the effectiveness of the car seat or seat belt.
  • Let kids out on the side of the car closest to the sidewalk - In areas where kids are being dropped off or picked up, watch for kids darting out from between parked cars, always check for pedestrians when you're backing up, and be aware that kids could be present on any side of the vehicle.
  • Ensure kids are not distracted - Pick-up and drop-off routines can happen at roadside or in a busy parking lot. Make it a rule that young kids and teens stay off their cell phones or other electronic devices while getting in and out of the car.

Carpooling safety tips

  • Be aware of medical concerns - Understand any medical conditions kids and teens may have such as medication they should carry or food allergies.
  • Model safe driving behavior - Young children and teens observe adult drivers. Avoid distractions while driving such as texting, talking on a handheld phone or typing information into the GPS unit.
  • Make a plan - To avoid stress and confusion, discuss schedules with young kids, teens and all adults involved in transporting the kids. Consider creating a printed schedule.
  • Have kids carry a list of emergency contact numbers - Kids, and the adult they're travelling with, can contact whomever they need when schedules change or if their vehicle has a mechanical breakdown.

About BCAA
BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one in four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto and travel insurance services, and is renowned for its legendary roadside assistance. J.D. Power has ranked BCAA "Highest In Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada" two years in a row (2012 and 2013) - details at jdpower.com. Now in its 108th year, BCAA has over $460 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 900 employees. To learn more about BCAA's Community Impact Programs and the other benefits of BCAA Membership, visit bcaa.com. 

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information:

or to request an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio, BCAA Communication Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859
Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com