A WATER BOTTLE in a CAR? That Is Crazy Dangerous!

America is suffering from a terrifying syndrome: IHOSFO — It Happened Once, So FREAK OUT.

Only IHOSFO explains today’s MSN tbentrskis

Why you should never leave plastic water bottles in a hot car

Ok, MSN: Why shouldn’t you do this thing that I’m guessing about 200,000,000 people are doing right now, seeing as it’s August?

Because one time the sun hit the water bottle just right, and the bottle + water concentrated the beam of light like a magnifying glass (or, as the reporter says, “like a laser”) and began to burn a hole in the seat. “Experts say” never ever do this again unless you want to DIE (I’m paraphrasing). They also give this tip you’d never have thought of on your own. (Sit down): “Take the bottle with you.”

And the guy it happened to made an “instructive” video, which inspired this other video, below, teaching us the dangers of something that we all know from our experience of living on earth and having water bottles in the car is extremely SAFE.






47 Responses to A WATER BOTTLE in a CAR? That Is Crazy Dangerous!

  1. Dienne August 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    So, even if this once in a gadzillion years thing actually happens to you, we’re talking, what? Property damage? I mean, if you’re in the car, chances are it’s not hot enough to do that, right? And, chances are, if you’re in the car, it’s probably moving, so the light wouldn’t be concentrated in the same place, no? So, sure, no one wants a hole burned in their car seat, but that’s quite a bit different than being “dangerous”.

  2. Hazel August 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    Oh, for Pete’s sakes.

    Can it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No. Are there other things that are foreseeable problems with freaking everyone out about having water bottles in the car? Yes. Like dehydration, which is much more dangerous given how often it happens. Having water in the car with you is actually really important!

  3. BL August 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    I’d snort at this, but I might break a blood vessel in my nose and bleed to death.

  4. Dee August 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    Thankfully, even the interviewees were pretty nonplussed by the dangers.

  5. Dienne August 17, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    The interviewees were not nonplussed. Nonplussed means perturbed.

  6. James August 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    I’ve actually held a magnifying glass so that the light focused on my hand–I wanted to see how long before I was injured via the process (I was about 10, a science nerd, and have never had strong instincts regarding self-preservation). Granted, it depends on the power of the lens–a Fresnel lens can damage you practically instantly, while a magnifying glass takes a while. But under ordinary conditions, using ordinary household materials, I found that it takes a lot of patience to get sunlight to the point where it damages you. Plus, there’s this nifty warning sign called “pain” before it does so!

    As for the seat thing, how big a hole are we talking? If it lit the seat on fire, that would be bad. A hole the size of a cigarette burn is merely annoying. Less annoying than a hole due to dropping one’s pocket knife, as the edges are singed and less likely to unravel.

    If you REALLY want to have fun, leave a full soda bottle/can in your car in direct sunlight in the summer. I did that once. It took me a long, long time to clean up THAT mess….

  7. Roger the Shrubber August 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    I had this exact thing happen except with a 4″ diameter glass ball that I found and placed in my console. It melted a small hole in my console. I failed to notify the public of this deadly hazard.

  8. Roger the Shrubber August 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    No, Dienne


    (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.
    “he would be completely nonplussed and embarrassed at the idea”
    NORTH AMERICANinformal
    (of a person) not disconcerted; unperturbed.

  9. Eyes Rolling August 17, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    We can now all feel safer during the solar eclipse 8/21. Thanks Lenore!

  10. AmyP August 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    Weird things happen. If you’re going by one off situations, you can make a case for anything. Once my car broke down on the side of the road. I was nine months pregnant and it was July in Alabama. Two hours later the tow truck comes and by that point I am pretty sure that if I had known how to access it, I would have drank gasoline out of desperation. I survived obviously, but ever since then I have kept a case of water in my trunk always. I switch it out now and then for new ware, but it’s always there. So, if I leave a water bottle in the car I might die. If I don’t and forget to bring one and I have an emergency situation I might die. Both are rare events. We all might die at any given moment. Use your own experiences and situation as well as your knowledge of statistical likeliness to make the best decision on everything. Let’s not worry about unlikely events happening to other people happening to ourselves.

  11. Krista August 17, 2017 at 1:17 pm #


    But really, Lenore, I would love to hear your thoughts about all of the school districts canceling school on Monday, August 21st because of the solar eclipse and the DANGER of letting kids be at school where they might stare at the sun and go blind.

  12. lollipoplover August 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    When my son was an infant and in a rear-facing carseat, someone gave me one of those baby *safety* mirrors so I could still see my baby while driving. Because taking my eyes off the road to see baby drooling in the mirror is so safe!

    While at work, I parked my car with mirror on the very top deck of the parking garage in the sun. When I returned, the car was smoky and the mirror reflected onto the roof interior of my car, causing a fire! It was the most bizarre insurance claim but safe to say we ditched the safety mirror.
    But water bottles?

  13. bmj2k August 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    It is dangerous to leave the house. Just stay home.

  14. John B. August 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    When I lived and worked over in Kuwait, the Barber would always provide the nose hair treatment after cutting my hair IF I asked for it. It’s a common procedure in Barber Shops in the Arab world where the Barber will glop up some cue tips with hot wax and then stick them up your nose and after the wax solidifies after 5 minutes or so, the Barber will then yank them out of your nose. He’ll then repeat that 2 or 3 more times. I know it sounds gross and it sounds painful but believe you me, it’s not painful at all. What it does is clean out the inside of your nostrils so you don’t have that irritating nose hair tickling your nose and sticking out the end it! I loved it and I really miss that treatment here in the states!

    Well, when I inquired about that procedure at a parlor here in the states, the Beautician looked at me in horror and informed me that people have died from that!! So I looked at her and informed her that people have also been killed from falling coconuts on tropical islands! But it’s certainly not gonna keep me from laying near or under a coconut tree during a visit to Thailand!!

  15. Dean Whinery August 17, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    BJ2K No! Most accidents happen in or near home, say some “experts”. better stay far from home.

  16. Theresa Hall August 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    I rather see the eclipse than worrying about a water bottle.

  17. Joanna August 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    If leaving a water bottle in a car in the sun can start a fire, why do the Boy Scouts bother with teaching Scouts to rub two sticks together (or the sharp rock against rock thing) to start a campfire? A magnifying glass, preferably with a handle, works way better on a sunny day, as my brother and I found out when we were about 9 and 7. Was great fun to sit in front of a south-facing window with Mom’s magnifying glass and set pieces of paper on fire. (I still have that mag glass, btw, but have never ever shared that same “fun” with my kids or their kids, and never will!) Obviously the guy who raised the alarm about fire-starting water bottles wasn’t an angler or boater who smokes, else he would’ve known there’s a great little device available in sporting goods stores called a “solar lighter”. A concave chrome disk with an A-frame thingie on top. The idea being to position the disk so that the sun is concentrated in the center of it, and then place the tip of a cig (or any flammable material) in that spot to ignite it. Probably best the Alarmist didn’t have one to leave on his dashboard with a fast food receipt tossed inside…

    For the record, living in Central OK, I never leave the house in the summer months w/o the plastic water bottle that I leave half-filled with water in the freezer between outings. Before leaving the house I fill it the rest of the way with tap water. (I refuse to pay a buck or more for a bottle of some other city’s tap water, the source of most of the commercially bottled water. Pure spring water, my patootie!) I also never put the bottle in the console. It’s either tucked into a pocket of my reusable shopping bag or lying on the passenger’s seat, and there are few parking spots in this town that aren’t in full sun all day, so it’s never in shade on the seat. Never had a problem with refracted sunlight (or whatever) setting the seat on fire, but then the chunk of ice in the bottle never completely melts while I’m out, so perhaps the cold prevents combustion. And yes, I periodically switch to a new bottle.

  18. SanityAnyone? August 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

    The clear and present danger of the water bottle in the car is that if you don’t take it with you, you are tempted to drink 150 degF water on a hot day instead of something cool or at least tepid from your purse. I sipped that hot water yesterday and it was dang unsatisfying. Should have left a tea bag in there.

  19. annie August 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    @Dienne… nonplussed:
    1. (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react. “he would be completely nonplussed and embarrassed at the idea”

    2. NORTH AMERICAN informal (of a person) not disconcerted; unperturbed

    those ladies seemed surprised and confused…

  20. Elin Hagberg August 17, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    So get another bottle if this scares you or have a dark box or bag or something where you can put the bottle if you don’t have a glove compartment. I am glad my MIL doesn’t often go online since she would be scared to death hearing about this and she almost always carry a water bottle if she goes somewhere in the car.

  21. Mark of Melbourne August 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

    Oh no….. we’re all gonna die!!! (Hang on, we all will, eventually. We’re mortals you know). Thanks again Lenore for raising awareness of unimportant, non-issues made up by the media to desperately fill air time each night. Mmmm I am feeling thirsty!!

  22. hineata August 17, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

    @Krista, that’s insane! An eclipse is a major learning event, provided free of charge by Nature. Our kids make these weird glasses things (I have to look up how to do it again ) and get the telescope (you know, the experiment where you put the piece of paper under the telescope and watch the shadow come and go).

    Canceling school for something like that is criminal.

  23. Theresa Hall August 17, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

    I wish the eclipse was in my town . It would so cool to see. Sadly the nearest one is in Georgia. The teachers should be wanting to show off this once in lifetime event not cancel school over it.

  24. Donald August 17, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    This click bait is embarrassing! The unlikely event of a water bottle being perfectly focused is 2,000 to 1 that is focused enough to leave a mark on upholstery. I imagine it’s more like 50,000 to 1 that it will actually start a fire! However, the damaging effects on health (physical and mental) of constant worry outweighs this problem 100,000,000 times! When a person clicks on this crap, not only do they reward them, they also show how gullible they are!

    Ok, let’s pretend that I’m taking the advice and not leaving water bottles in my car. I’m now more likely to get dehydrated.

  25. Meg August 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    Let’s be realistic. Death by toothpick is more likely than this article about water bottles.




  26. Backroads August 17, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Is anyone else wanting to try to get a water bottle in a hot car to do this burning thing?

  27. Backroads August 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

    School cancellations on Eclipse Day?

    We are cancelling. It was supposed to be the first day. Everyone complained because everyone wanted to watch the eclipse. Now that day is a ¨snow day¨.

  28. Trollbuster August 17, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    I succeeded in ridding this site of Warren. He has gone back into the dark cave where he belongs. May he never again write here.
    The next one to leave must be James Pollock. He used to be my friend. He was thoughtful and engaging. However now, he must be stopped. All he does all day is write on this site. Does he have a life? He never addresses the topic. His brain must have been rewired over these past 10 months
    James: Please leave quietly so we can avoid any more thought and verbal pollution. You must be stopped. It is key for the future of this site. STOP JAMES P/.

  29. Jessica August 17, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    Nobody is cancelling school because the eclipse is dangerous. A lot of schools are taking a day or half-day so that the parents can take their kids to see it.

  30. Jonathan Petersen August 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

    One of the many dangers of dihydrogen monoxide. Ban this dangerous substance

  31. Curt Abbott August 17, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    They (newscasters) just can’t help themselves, can they?

  32. Curt Abbott August 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    What they DIDN’T address is the very real danger of chemicals from the plastic leaching into the water. SMDH!

  33. Silver Fang August 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    The greater danger is the plastic leeching into the water.

  34. Ann in L.A. August 17, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    I didn’t bother to read the story when I first saw it, but assumed it was a story about how small numbers of bacteria in a bottle could grow rapidly in a hot car and potentially make someone sick. I would think that would be the far greater worry.

  35. Dave Booth August 17, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    Leave it to a local TV news crew to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Hidden dangers sell! Just like bad accidents, scandal, and big fires.

  36. Linda August 17, 2017 at 11:21 pm #

    All I have to say is STOP USING PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES!!. Yeah, they might burn a hole in your car, but we should all know how bad they are for the environment.

  37. Dienne August 18, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    Okay, so North Americans informally don’t know the meaning of the word nonplussed and, hence, use it to mean exactly the opposite of what it does mean. Color me shocked. However, just because people use it incorrectly does not change the meaning of the word. It means surprised, confused, perturbed.

  38. Dienne August 18, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    I would be thrilled if my oldest daughter’s school cancelled because of the eclipse, even if it was because of “safety”. At least she’d get a chance to see it. As it is, she’s going to be stuck in a classroom getting stuffed full of facts and “skills” to be tested on to make the district look good and she’ll miss one of the biggest astronomical events in the past 30 years.

    My younger two aren’t back in school yet, so we’re headed to the totality zone to spend the day kayaking down a river with our eclipse glasses and pinhole boxes.

  39. Helen Armstrong August 18, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Linda, I second your comment! Why can’t people use reusable bottles instead of those environmentally-hazardous plastic bottles. All those compsnies that sell this product sure sold us all a bill of goods, claiming the bottles contain “spring water from glacier-fed lakes” blah blah blah.

  40. Kirsten August 18, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    Hey, I’m North American and I know how to use “non-plussed” correctly. Just thought I’d add that.

    And @Krista, are you serious? They’re actually cancelling school due to “looking at the eclipse” liability? I remember creating special cardboard boxes with peepholes at school that we could use to look at the eclipse safely. People are insane. I guess it all goes back to the litigiousness of our culture. Inevitably one child would look at the sun and get retinal damage and the parents would sue the school.

  41. bmommyx2 August 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    Has this actually happened? I would be more worried about the chemicals leaching into the water & causing cancer than my car catching on fire.

  42. BL August 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

    “now, he must be stopped. All he does all day is write on this site. Does he have a life? He never addresses the topic.”

    I think he should get a participation trophy.

  43. Crazy Cat Lady August 20, 2017 at 12:25 am #

    Well…yeah….it is a survival skill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfYz6CWY26w

  44. Megan August 20, 2017 at 7:17 am #

    Dienne, take your daughter out of school for the day. This is called you knowing better than the school what will be more educational for your kid. Parents should be making this call all the time. Don’t let truancy laws scare you. The school needs you more than you need it.

  45. Baby-paramedic August 20, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    My car should be a flaming wreck.
    We live in the Outback, so have about 30L of water just in the car. People without water die in the Outback.

  46. ggg August 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

    Interesting, I thought this was going in the direction of chemicals in the plastic leaching into the drinking water.

    Love how their science experiment didn’t work, and then the people they interviewed didn’t seem to care very much.

  47. Paul August 28, 2017 at 5:06 am #

    This will make a great science activity! See if my kids want to try to set a leaf or something on fire with a water bottle, while learning various safety common sense procedures. Very educational on many levels.