After five minutes of sitting in a hot car, Terry Williams was drenched with sweat. After ten minutes, he felt like the air had been sucked out of his lungs. After 15 minutes, he got out of the car.

Not everyone has the chance to do that.

Every year, an average of 38 children are killed in the United States when they are trapped in hot cars for extended periods of time. Last month, Williams was overcome with sadness when he heard about the death of a Georgia toddler who had been forgotten in the back seat of his dad's car for several hours.

He's challenged other adults to endure the conditions to better understand these tragic events.

So he decided to do something about it. Two days after the death of Cooper Harris, Williams subjected himself to similar circumstances so he can understand how treacherous conditions can become – and so he could share that with you.

A Greensboro, NC resident and father of three, Williams made a video of his experience while he was in nearby Raleigh, NC, and posted it on YouTube, where he's challenged other adults to endure the conditions to better understand these tragic events.

"I hope somebody will see my video, and someone, somewhere out there, maybe they'll think twice before they get up and leave their car," Williams tells Autoblog.

A car hauler by trade, he sat in the front seat of a Toyota Corolla for his experiment in 90-degree conditions. In the video, sweat pours off his face as he looks into the camera and pleads with parents and caregivers to remember. "We go through this every, every year, year after year after year," he says.

One point to remember: In the Georgia case that compelled Williams' reaction, police suspect the boy's father, Justin Ross Harris, may have intentionally left his son to die. But such cases are rare. It's not usually malice; it's forgetfulness. In the majority of cases, a parent accidentally leaves a child behind, often when a routine is interrupted.

Children's bodies absorb heat at rates three to five times faster than adults because they're not fully developed. Which showcases just how dire such conditions can be, because even ad adult like Williams didn't last very long.

"Right at about 15 minutes, I started losing my breath, and I was like, 'Nah, I'm getting out,'" he said. "It was hot outside as well. But just to get outside that door and breathe some fresh air, it was like getting air blown back into your lungs."

Scroll down below to watch Williams' video for yourself.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      akitadog
      • 1 Year Ago
      I applaud this gentleman for really wanting to experience what it is like to be trapped in a hot car. Sometimes (really, MOST of the time) we really don't appreciate a situation until we've experienced it ourselves. His experiment makes the situation much less academic and much more personal. Thanks for your awareness efforts, Mr. Williams.
        Humberto Yi
        • 1 Year Ago
        @akitadog
        Honestly, one of the most pointless video's I've ever watched. Calling people idiots because of a mistake. "I'd never leave my kids in the car man"... "Do you really love your kids?"...I'm guessing the parents that accidentally left their children, the love of their lives, probably felt the same way. I'm not talking about the piece of crap who murders his kids, most of these cases are accidents, and trust me, your not going to shame them into feeling worse. They destroyed there own lives because of a mistake, one that will haunt them the rest of there lives, show some sympathy both directions instead of this crap...they are going to suffer more than most of us will ever deal with in a lifetime.
          Middleman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Humberto Yi
          I don't think this is meant to shame anyone, but rather to enlighten those who may need to be enlightened. While a mistake is a mistake and we have to learn from it, I think what Mr. Williams is trying to convey is that sometimes experience is key in order empathize with how hot it is in those situations, mistakes or otherwise. Also, I think in order to accidentally leave a child alone anywhere it takes a special kind of absence of mind in that moment. This "experiment" seems to be geared towards getting other parents to empathize with the child and focus more on their child's well being.
          M5_4_life
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Humberto Yi
          Trust you? Who are you? Your comments are moronic at best. I have kids, 3 of them, whenever I get to my destination, the first thing I reach for is my kids, the other things can stay behind which is what normal parents do, it's not a "mistake" as you call it. No one forced you to watch so go play with your toys.
      Gregg Alley
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another aspect of this that is overlooked is that cars should be kept locked when parked, even in your driveway. A toddler recently died because he climbed into an unlocked car on a hot day, but didn't know how to get out.
      William
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not to devalue the absolute importance of what this man is saying but people should keep the same thing in mind regarding their pets who have no way of communicating to their owners how much they suffered while even locked in a slightly vented car. Sometimes irresponsibility, inhumanity, cluelessness and inability to understand a basic threat go hand in hand. My heart goes out to all of the children, disabled adults and helpless animals who have suffered at the hands of these nitwits.
      dfkd
      • 1 Year Ago
      They specifically mention broken routines which is an interesting point actually. People are just so "busy" with their lives (legitimately or not) that many of us just can't keep up. Fixing that is a cultural issue but we can at least use our technology to compensate for some of it. My car puts up a warning every time I turn it off while the sunroof is still open. Big red warning sign, dinging sound and written text on the dash saying the moonroof is open. Also, Lexus set it up that it somehow hasn't blended into being ignored like the annoying ding many cars do when they key is in ACC position without the car running. Perhaps an optional or even customizable exit warning option in all cars? (enable and disable in config just like the beeping for stereo controls) "Check back seat" or maybe "Don't forget: You love your baby".
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      DON'T DO IT !
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      We have to pass stringent driving tests before we can drive on the road, but none to become a parent.
      Barry Hubris
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why is this kids in hot cars thing such a hot topic lately? WTF? It's common sense.
        Bobby_Sards
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Barry Hubris
        We'd only hope its common sense! Its probably one of the worst ways to die
      FuelToTheFire
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's not just about leaving kids in hot cars. It's about leaving them unsupervised. Until they are 18, you should NOT leave your children unattended for ANY reason. Think I'm a tad overprotective? CPS will be on my side when I call them on you.
        Bradford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Just a heads up: when your kids turn 18, they will got apesh*t crazy with their newfound freedom
        northeastern
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        can't leave a kid alone until their 18..? that is impossible not to mention super OCD. Don't have kids. they will have a very miserable time in highschool with you as a parent.
        Plan B
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        With that mindset - you are setting up your overprotected and sheltered kids for a lifetime of painful and awkward moments for you and them.
        Justin Campanale
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        I guess the next time I pass by kids playing in Central Park, I should call CPS on them. Because,you know, will somebody PLEASE think of the children? Herp a derp!
        BillyM67
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        So how do you feel about latch-key kids? My daughter went home after school everyday starting at the age of 12/13 and was at home alone, unsupervised, for 2-3 hours each day. My son will begin doing it in a couple of years. Should I lose them to the state? What about the thousands of other children across the US who are also home alone each year because both parents work? By the way, CPS is pretty much a joke.
      J W
      • 1 Year Ago
      I still don't understand how children are left in a car. I have a two year old, she's either talking constantly (not likely to forget her) or she's asleep and I'm thinking at all times I have to be quiet or she'll wake up. I can't even make it out of my driveway without remembering my cell phone on the table. These circumstances just boggle my mind.
        bullitt2605
        • 1 Year Ago
        @J W
        I agree. We never left our kids in the car alone even for a minute to run into the store, it's about responsibility and safety and putting your kids first. There just isn't any excuse.
        Tiberius1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @J W
        The problem is the people who are prone to leaving their kids in the car are the ones who are totally absorbed by their not-so-smart phones. You know the ones who juggle everything else but clench their Borg-devices like their lives depend on it.
          ack154
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tiberius1701
          I think it would be a safe assumption that people have been forgetting children in cars before smartphones...
        waetherman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @J W
        I don't think most people "forget" their children in the car, they leave them there intentionally, without malice. C'mon, as a parent with a sleeping child in the backseat that you don't want to wake up, haven't you thought how much easier it would be to just leave the kid in the car, pop in to the store and grab a few groceries, rather than wake the kid up, deal with the crying, the stroller, etc? I'm not saying it's right - it's very much wrong. And deadly, even just for a few minutes. But I understand the thought process.
          J W
          • 1 Year Ago
          @waetherman
          I'll wake my child up and deal with the tantrum. I'm not going to be that parent that ends up on the news.
          Rob8
          • 1 Year Ago
          @waetherman
          waetherman...apparently you are one of those lazy, self centered poor excuses for parents that has actually done it. Else why bring up all the "reasons" for doing it?
        valve_addiction
        • 1 Year Ago
        @J W
        Don't worry, it just means you have brainpower.
      Neez
      • 1 Year Ago
      I feel bad for kids that have stupid parents. Seriously, if they didn't want their 22 month old, there are a crap ton of people having trouble conceiving that would absolutely love a 22 month old. It's a good age where you can adopt and the child hasn't been corrupted and hardened by the foster care system.
        Chris O.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Neez
        I feel bad for people who believe they have the moral authority to stand in judgement over everyone else. Sure enough, having a child die as a result of a stupid error or negligence is terrible. However, as any parent will tell you, accidents will sometimes happen that are not preventable.
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      If people cared about animals this would have been old news. Animal groups have been complaining to people about leaving their dogs in the car while they shop. My fiance works for a no-kill shelter and they regularly call cops who then break out windows to free trapped animals when someone is shopping for an hour in 80*+ weather. Sometimes we see this happen first hand when I'm with her and we'll wait next to the car until someone comes back. The people always get all huffy and act like "It's just a dog" as if it's okay to kill/maim/murder those creatures because they are not us.... They usually then say that they wouldn't leave their kids in the car like that...... Then stories like this prove they do.
        Bazinga
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Stopped at CVS to pick up dog treats for my dog on the way back from the park and left my dog in the car with the windows down as it was about 80 degrees out, hes buckled in with a seat belt. Walked in grabbed a bag and checked out. Spent 5 mins in the store. I got to my car and some lady said she called the police and I needed to stay until I got there because of animal cruelty. Of course I just drove away. I applaud the concern for animals and am glad there are people who are looking out for the well being of other's pets. But sometimes people need to learn to observe from a distance or just mind there own business.
          AcidTonic
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bazinga
          Just 5 minutes is what everyone says who leaves their kids in the car. Then they die. I get your story and all but honestly that car even with windows down is not the same story as I was saying above. I wouldn't have bothered you if the windows were truly 100% down and the dog was strapped in unable to jump out. Sounds like you found a good strawman argument (that crazy lady) to make us look bad when we stop people who are actually leaving animals in the car with the windows 100% UP for 15 minutes or more at a time.
          Basil Exposition
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bazinga
          Amen. Some folks don't know the meaning of overzealous.
        FuelToTheFire
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Animals are your property. You can do whatever the hell you want with them, even kill them, because it was you who bought them.
        Knox
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        My truck has a remote start, so I just leave it running. Of course, that only works for ten minutes before it cuts off. It's surprising how short a time that is when you are in a store.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can't guilt or legislate people into not forgetting. Forgetting by definition means you, well, forgot something. It's terrible when it happens, and costs way too many lives. Usually it's people in the routine of the 40hr grind, and on a certain day they need to drop the kid off at daycare and forget. The only technological solution I can think of is something similar to the passenger seat airbag system of detecting if someone under a certain weight is in the seat, but instead in the back seat and set to say 15lb. An empty car seat wouldn't set it off, but even a new born would be enough to have a chime or something go off if over 15lb and the key is taken out of the ignition. At least the technology is already there, and wouldn't need anything much more than reprogramming.
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