Shoppers notice “hot car” in Christiansburg
“It’s a good thing that dog is stuffed,” 8-year-old Mason MayKowskyj said.
Mason was referring to Ruff, the cotton-filled pup perched on the dashboard of a completely closed mini-van sitting outside of Target in Christiansburg on Thursday.
Ruff, along with baby doll Rosy, were key parts of the Christiansburg Police Department’s “hot car” they used in front of the store to draw awareness toward the potential dangerous conditions a closed-up car creates during the hot summer months.
The prop that drew the most attention was the giant thermometer mounted on the dashboard, which read 125 degrees just after 3 p.m.
Onlooker Amanda Coburn said she was surprised the vehicle was that hot inside and said she expected it to read a number closer to 90 degrees.
Mason’s estimate was a little closer at 100, but Target team leader Randy Trent said the thermometer had actually topped out earlier that day at 140.
According to the statistics posted on the windows of the van, the real life counterparts of both Rosy and Ruff would have had little chance surviving more than 10 minutes in such conditions.
While many passing costumers wondered aloud how a person could forget about a child in a car, the statistics also indicated that it does happen and leads to a child’s death an average of 38 times a year.
The van’s information also included a few tips on how to make sure your child isn’t accidentally left in a car, which included putting your cellphone, purse or briefcase in the back seat near the child.
Target employee Innes Lockhart was among those who found the situation hard to comprehend and said he never leaves his 4-year-old son in a car during the summer, even if it’s for just five minutes.
Lockhart said he’d seen many people stop and look at the vehicle throughout his work day and while he wasn’t sure what impact it had on them, if it helped at all, he believed it was movement in a positive direction.
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