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When I was a kid, the cigarette lighter in the car kept us entertained for hours. We burned the edges of every plastic snow scraper my mom got for free from car insurance companies. We burned both ends of pens. (After taking the ink out so it wouldn’t explode.) (We weren’t stupid.) It was fun for all ages. But we always knew that it was hot and we shouldn’t touch it. That’s why we melted things with long handles and we kept our hands far, far away.
We knew what a cigarette lighter was for; we saw people lighting cigarettes with them and we saw the fire they created. It wasn’t anything taught us. It was something we intrinsically knew. It was part of society.
Not so anymore.
My new car doesn’t even have a cigarette lighter, but our older car does. My husband and I never thought about it. Until our boys decided to see how the lighter works. They didn’t realize they started fires. Even though they know it’s called a LIGHTER. My youngest got a blister. They thought it would just shock them.
So learn from our pain. If you have an older car, DO NOT assume your kids know that cigarette lighters are actually hot enough to burn. (And DO NOT assume that the large red circle will give them the slightest hint.)
DO sit them down with a can of root beer and the first season of Starsky and Hutch. Everything should come together by episode 10.
(Maybe read a book about how you can increase your children’s common sense, too. And email me your findings.)