Outside of the Chandler Fashion 20 movie theater at Chandler Fashion Center on Friday night, the Chandler Police Department hosted a family friendly event geared to prevent children and animals from suffering hot car deaths and injuries.
Families came to the event to see the likes of a SWAT truck kids could climb on; a yellow hot rod officers revved up; coloring books, stickers, and games given out; and even McGruff, the famous crime dog, was on the scene. That doesn’t include a large amount of police officers who volunteered their time to meet with the community and answer any questions.
Amanda Schlichting, a Chandler Police officer and animal cruelty investigator for the city, said she came up with the idea for this program, “Cool Kids and Pets,” back in April due to the high volume of calls her department was receiving involving kids and pets being left in hot cars.
“Most of the calls we get involve pets being left in the car,” she said.
With regards to children being left hot cars, Schlichting says it happens enough that raising awareness is a necessity.
“One call makes it a necessity and my team has taken one that I know of in the last couple of months,” she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation about 65 children under the age of 5 years old are killed per year in hot car related deaths in the United States.
Notwithstanding, concerned parents like Paul Hauser who, along with his wife Nicole, have two boys of their own, stopped to show their support of the Chandler Police sponsored event.
“I’ve been out here for 22 years and I know how hot it can get inside a car. Never leave a child or any pet in the car,” Hauser said.
He added parents across the country need to be more vigilant in the summer months, as in the case of Georgia toddler, Cooper Harris, whose well publicized death has brought this issue to the front pages.
“It doesn’t matter where you are at (in summer months) it can get up to 150 degrees in a car. No one can survive in that. Not a child, or an animal, no one,” he said.
This was further illustrated by the yellow hot rod, whose internal temperature rose from 95 degrees at the start of the event to 155 degrees after just 30 minutes.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital Nurse Practitioner Lauren Carhartt said she has seen the effects the Arizona heat has on a child left in a car.
“Their metabolic rate increases, their body temperature rises, and they can become dehydrated at the very least,” said Carhartt who splits her time between the hospital and Pendleton Pediatrics of Chandler.