July 13, 2014
YouTubers Lock Themselves In Cars for Children
With the summer in full swing, one of the biggest issues I see people posting about is the dangers of leaving a child or animal in the car on a sunny day. There are dozens of advisories, warnings, and studies that all echo the same fairly simple message: it gets a lot hotter than common sense would dictate. Even if it doesn’t seem all that warm outside, don’t risk it. I’ve seen everything from arrest reports in the newspaper, to angry rants on Facebook, to the lethality of the whole process (and how to stop it). Most of the attention generated has been fairly positive, as folks strive to raise awareness among those who might genuinely not understand just how freaking fast the whole process can occur. Some have found themselves in the midst of what appears to be a very confusing situation, with charges pressed even in instances where it might not have seemed like there was any danger. But regardless of how people are pushing for awareness, it’s undeniable that the awareness movement itself is pushing extra hard.
Meet Terry Williams, a YouTuber from North Carolina who locked himself in a heated car and filmed the excruciating process. On the day of his particular demonstration, it was 90 degrees outside — certainly warm, but not necessarily the sweltering temperatures some expect are necessary for danger. Along with the video, Williams posted a challenge to adults to lock themselves in a hot car, if only for a few brief minutes, just to experience the process for themselves. While not particularly advisable from a health perspective, the undeniable heart behind his video was contagious, sparking several others to film similar “sit-ins” to demonstrate just how quickly a comfortable car can become a sweltering sauna, even for a healthy adult. Williams points out the point at which his sweating becomes profuse, at which his breathing becomes labored, factoring in the undeniable truth that his “system is stronger” than young children or animals.
In fact, it’s the very difference between adults and children that makes this process so dangerous. Young kids are especially susceptible to heat, and their body temperatures can fluctuate much more quickly than an adult’s. Those five minutes that might be bearable for an adult could be extremely uncomfortable for a child, and the fifteen minutes that bring even adults to the point of discomfort could be lethal for children. Part of me is glad for Williams and his push towards awareness, but the other part is bothered that it takes something this odd to bring attention to an issue that really should be common knowledge.
It’s not rocket science, people. I’ve driven around in enough cars with bricked air-conditioning units to know the truth behind this without having to stage any particular sit-in. Even with the windows down, the sun becomes outright brutal. Anyway, use your common sense, people. I’m not going to lock myself in a sweltering car and gasp these admonitions through sweat-slicked lips … but really, I would hope that I wouldn’t have to.
Besides, these guys already did that for me.
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