75 degrees is not hot. In fact, 75 degrees is down right nice; warm enough for t-shirts and shorts, cool enough to be comfortable.


Park your car in direct sunlight. Turn the engine off, leave the windows rolled up, and wait. It doesn't take long for the heat to become uncomfortable, and not much longer for it to be painful. I wouldn't do it to a dog; I certainly wouldn't do it to a kid.


For the record, the commenter in the last post who made light of it was (I think; he has a good sense of humor) being tongue in cheek, but it sure as hell is filling my email. And one of those emails pointed out that in the biggest of the big pictures, my reaction of nausea and dizziness and what-the-hell-do-I-do was not because the imaginary kid was going to be cooked alive in the car; it was because even the hint of an idea that someone with ill intent could snatch that kid was fizzing in the nether regions of my brain.

When my son was 2 months old, he was snatched while in his stroller, right next to me. Granted, his would-be snatcher didn't get far, paid a pretty hefty physical price, was a little nuts, and we didn't pursue civil charges, but it left an indelible mark. [July 25, 2002]

I'm a little touchy about kids in danger, it seems.

But the commenter was right; times are so very different. Thirty five years ago it wasn't uncommon to leave your kids in the car for a few minutes. We'd be threated with bodily harm if we so much as twitched wrong, the windows were rolled down for fresh air, and alone we were. We sweated, we moaned, and no one had any idea how close we probably were to dehydration.

When we were kids we rode our bikes without worrying we'd fall off and split or heads wide open; hell, most of us probably heard more than once from an irate parent to knock off the stupid stuff, or else just that very thing would happen. Your skull is going to split and your brains are going to roll right out! I still don't like to wear a bike helmet. Heck, if I survived all those years, I can pedal my way through a few more. My son was on the periphery of bike helmets; they weren't required by law, just by strong suggestion. I didn't make him wear one until it did become law. And then he stopped riding his bike.

Thirty five years ago we also spent most of our free time outside exposing ourselves to dangerous levels of UV rays. We played in the streets. We risked intestinal distress by drinking from the neighbor's hose, even when we knew the dog had licked it just the day before. We played tackle football on concrete, for Pete's sake.

We survived.

I think we go overboard with kids sometimes these days, but that's the nature of time. It flows towards the future, not towards the Good old Days. In thirty five years today's kids might be sending their young ones outside covered from head to toe in protective suits that inflate with automatic airbags at the slightest bump. They'll be slathered in 567 SPF sunscreen and their vitals will be monitored and adjusted electronically for optimal health.

Maybe there won't be cars to leave the kids in. Who knows?

If I'm still around then, cars or not, safety features out the wazzoo or not, I'm probably still going to be a little touchy about the potential for a kid to be yanked right off the street, even right out from under a parent's nose. Because if it could happen with me standing right there, it could happen to anyone...especially to a kid asleep in a car with no responsible adult in sight.

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