Precious Cargo's Focus Is Children in Hot Cars

By Goldbach, Brad | The Florida Times Union, July 26, 2008 | Go to article overview

Precious Cargo's Focus Is Children in Hot Cars


Goldbach, Brad, The Florida Times Union


Byline: BRAD GOLDBACH

Karen Bowling pulled a lipstick tube out of a car, along with a thermometer.

Both had been sitting in the vehicle just 11 minutes. During that time, the temperature rose from 99 to 120 degrees. When Bowling, CEO of Solantic, attempted to write on a towel with the lipstick, it was already mush.

"It just totally melted," she said. "But of course we all know lipstick is replaceable."

Children, however, are not, and that's the message Solantic and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tried to get across at their recent launch of the "Precious Cargo" Summer Car Safety Public Awareness Campaign at Solantic's Arlington branch on Monument Road. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the dangers involved with leaving children unattended in vehicles.

Last year, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded to 393 emergency calls of a child locked in a vehicle, according to department statistics. None of the children died.

Meanwhile, just two weeks ago, a St. Johns County woman was charged with felony child neglect for leaving her 9-month-old son locked in a minivan for about 25 minutes while running into the mall.

The campaign hopes it will help prevent any other children from being harmed.

"There are so many old wives' tales about cracked windows," said Nathan Newman, Solantic's chief medical officer. "The temperature inside a car, even with the windows open, can reach oven-like states within minutes."

As temperatures rise, children's symptoms range from anxiousness, hot skin and swelling to nausea, faster heartbeat and loss of consciousness, Newman said. Hot conditions culminate in hyperthermia, or heat stroke, which can cause shock, brain damage and death.

This process is not a slow one.

"It only takes 15 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 131 to 172 degrees," reads a sticker that will be distributed to businesses around the city by sheriff's officers to remind parents not to leave children unattended in cars. …

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