Clarissa Carson cradled her baby girl in her arms and felt her heart drop. The ICU nurse looked out her front window, barely making out trees across the street. Dense, choking smoke — the result of nearby wildfires — had settled in her hometown of Medford, Oregon, a city of 82,000 located 27 miles north of the California border.
It was 2017, and Carson badly wanted to take her daughter, who had just started crawling, outside to their yard, to let her feel a ray of sunshine on her face, let the grass tickle her knees. She knew sensory input was critical to her development. This was the summer Carson’s blue-eyed baby girl started balling up her fists and shaking her hands when she got excited, drool spilling onto her chubby cheeks.
Carson knew if they went outside, she’d get that reaction. But she also knew that with the hazardous