Miscalculating The Strength of The Sun

People miscalculate the danger of familiar things all the time. For example, people fish stuff out of a toaster with a fork while the toaster is still plugged in. They steer a car with their knees while they juggle a soda and a burger. They use sharp kitchen knives to do wood-working chores best left to a chisel. They lose sight of the fact even the most friendly of family dogs has really, really sharp teeth (In my favorite interview with football great Joe Montana he answers the question about the little scar he has on his lip by saying, “I wanted to keep playing and my mom’s fox terrier didn’t.) And, of course, people miscalculate the strength of the sun.

They do it because they see it all the time. And unless they are in situations where the sun’s impact is more than obvious (a weekend at in the desert, for example) they discount how much harm the sun can do. And sometimes do in a short period of time. This is, of course, the reason why people leave children and dogs locked in cars with the windows rolled up: they’re just going to run into where ever they’re going for a few minutes.

What’s the worst that could happen? Bad things can happen, of course. And pretty rapidly: the heat in with rolled up windows can climb to triple digit temperatures in a shockingly short period of time. (It’s so dangerous that in some jurisdictions police officers will break open the windows of a car if there are children in it and no parents are present.)

So my plea to you this summer is “Please don’t lock your children or your pet in the car with the windows rolled up. No matter how quickly you think you’re going to be right back.”

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