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Hot Car Challenge refers to a collection of YouTube videos which feature people sitting in their car without air conditioning with the windows rolled up on hot summer days. The videos were created to raise awareness about the danger of leaving small children and pets in the car on hot days.
On June 20th, 2014, Terry Williams, whose YouTube username is tbartley269, uploaded a video titled “Don’t leave ur kids in car.” The video features Williams in his car on a hot summer day in Raleigh, North Carolina with the air off and the windows rolled up to see what it would feel like for children left in the car during the summer heat. During the video Williams urges parents to never leave their children in the car, highlighting how quickly it becomes dangerously hot even for a grown man. The video was inspired by recent reports of children dying of hyperthermia when left in a hot car, including the death of Georgia toddler Cooper Harris. In less than a month, the video gained over 1.2 million views.
On July 7th, 2014, Williams posted a call for others to make their own hot car challenge videos on his Facebook page, saying:
“I challenge everybody in every state. … to make a video so it can be heard….. love it. If u make a video tag me please”
Beneath the call to action he posted another example of a hot car challenge done by a man in Greensboro, North Carolina. On July 8th, HLNTV published an article titled “A dad’s hot car experiment goes viral.” The video was featured on several websites in the following days including MetroNews and the Daily Mail. On July 9th, 2014, YouTuber Shank ula uploaded a challenge video (below, left) titled “Inspired by Terry Williams ’what’s it like in a hot car’ challenge on Facebook..” In less than a week the video gained over 2,000 views. The same day YouTuber Jessica Cantrell uploaded a video (below, right) titled “Terry Williams Hot car challenge.” In less than a week the video has gained over 2,000 views.
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