How could you forget your child in a car? It could happen to anyone, experts say. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, according to the experts, it isn't just horrible parents who want to go gambling without paying for a babysitter, and/or parents who don't really love their children, who leave their kids in cars. Anyone can have that kind of memory lapse.
Quote:
“Memory is a machine, and it is not flawless. Our conscious mind prioritizes things by importance, but on a cellular level, our memory does not. If you’re capable of forgetting your cellphone, you are potentially capable of forgetting your child,” David Diamond, a professor of molecular physiology at the University of South Florida, told the Washington Post in 2009.

The article is new, but obviously some of the quotes they used are old.

The article is at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/how-could-you-forget-a-child-in-a-car-it-could-happen-to-anyone-experts-say/article12988522/

What do you think?
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#2 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 08:30 PM
 
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I agree with the article that most of the time it probably is a genuine oversight. I guess for this I am grateful for my erratic, constantly changing work schedule. I never get into enough of a routine to not be very aware of where my daughter is and who is responsible for her. If I'm driving her somewhere, I know it. I couldn't get in a "rut" and forget that today we had a change and it was my turn to take her to day care, because there's no "rut" to begin with.


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#3 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 09:23 AM
 
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I disagree that this could happen to anybody. I NEVER have not known my child was in the car with me.
 

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#4 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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I think it could happen to just about anyone. When my 8 year old was a few months old (and my next oldest was not quite a year and a half), I was heading into the grocery store. I got my young toddler, went to the back to grab some bags, then started walking to the store, and I locked the van. About 50 feet away from my van, I just froze. My boy was STILL.IN.THE.CAR. Obviously, he was fine. Sleeping. He never knew a thing.

 

I'm almost glad it happened the way it did, because it served to make me hyper aware. But it also humbled me.

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#5 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 10:16 AM
 
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The whole issue is disturbing:  there are some parents/caregivers who think it's okay to leave kids in the car for extended periods, and there are a lot of parents/caregivers who are sleep deprived, stressed, distracted, etc... but are still driving.  I think both scenarios are a symptom of just how out of whack our society is, and in both cases, the risks go beyond the hot-car issue.  If we can support families better (so there's less stress, and easier to make ends meet, and easier to find quality childcare),  and make it easier for people to drive less, walk/bike/bus more (it's healthier, and fewer sleep deprived/distracted drivers on the road would be good), then I think that there would be fewer children forgotten or left in cars, and fewer car accidents in general.  Unfortunately, consumer society thrives on the hectic lifestyle, so there's a lot of pressure to try to cram more into our lives.
 

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#6 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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I have a vague memory of seeing somewhere that hot car deaths have gone up since rear-facing car seats came in.  Obviously, in a collision, a rear-facing child is safer, but since you can't see the child from the front seat, it's easier to forget that the child is in the car, particularly if the child is quiet. 

 

While I would love to see better societal support for families in a lot of areas, I am not at all convinced that it would bring an end to this particular problem, which seems to me to be largely neurological in structure.  If I load up a sleeping baby into the car, and then spend the drive to the grocery store watching traffic, there is no special alarm in my head that will go off and remind me that the baby's in the car. The problem isn't that I'm distracted, the problem is that I'm focused on something besides the contents of the back seat, and I'm accustomed to tuning the back seat out so that I can drive safely.

 

I make random mistakes in my daily life all the time, not because I'm sleep deprived or stressed, but because I'm human.  I run upstairs to get things, and forget what they were.  I get off the phone with my sister and realize I forgot to ask her the question I called about in the first place.  I spend an hour composing a careful note to my boss and send it without the attachments.  I forget my anniversary.  Some years, I forget my birthday.  I assume that, if I am capable of forgetting that I threw my towel into the laundry until I turn off the shower and it's not there, I'm capable of forgetting to take the baby out of the back of the car.  There but for the grace of God go I.

 

I think the point of these articles (which get run every year) is to remind people that this is possible, in the hopes that if we take up everyone's brains with this "don't leave the baby in the car" thing for just a few minutes once a year, we can help them remember to check the backseat.  If this annual article inspires one person to come up with a routine for habitually checking the backseat, it's done good work.

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#7 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 12:47 PM
 
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I've never parked and left the car with a baby or child in it, but I've forgotten my kids were there. I've made it 1/2 way to work and realized I never stopped and dropped the kid at daycare more than once. I've always gotten lucky and the kid has made some noise that made me remember they were there. It has scared me every single time it has happened, because what if they hadn't made a noise. But it has happened more than once.


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#8 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrj85 View Post

I disagree that this could happen to anybody. I NEVER have not known my child was in the car with me.
 

I'm sure a lot of those parents said that, too.


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#9 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

I have a vague memory of seeing somewhere that hot car deaths have gone up since rear-facing car seats came in.  Obviously, in a collision, a rear-facing child is safer, but since you can't see the child from the front seat, it's easier to forget that the child is in the car, particularly if the child is quiet. 

 

While I would love to see better societal support for families in a lot of areas, I am not at all convinced that it would bring an end to this particular problem, which seems to me to be largely neurological in structure.  If I load up a sleeping baby into the car, and then spend the drive to the grocery store watching traffic, there is no special alarm in my head that will go off and remind me that the baby's in the car. The problem isn't that I'm distracted, the problem is that I'm focused on something besides the contents of the back seat, and I'm accustomed to tuning the back seat out so that I can drive safely.

 

I make random mistakes in my daily life all the time, not because I'm sleep deprived or stressed, but because I'm human.  I run upstairs to get things, and forget what they were.  I get off the phone with my sister and realize I forgot to ask her the question I called about in the first place.  I spend an hour composing a careful note to my boss and send it without the attachments.  I forget my anniversary.  Some years, I forget my birthday.  I assume that, if I am capable of forgetting that I threw my towel into the laundry until I turn off the shower and it's not there, I'm capable of forgetting to take the baby out of the back of the car.  There but for the grace of God go I.

 

I think the point of these articles (which get run every year) is to remind people that this is possible, in the hopes that if we take up everyone's brains with this "don't leave the baby in the car" thing for just a few minutes once a year, we can help them remember to check the backseat.  If this annual article inspires one person to come up with a routine for habitually checking the backseat, it's done good work.

I agree that a lot of it is just normal human brains, and that many habits of responsible drivers are conducive to forgetting there's a child in the car.  I'm not trying to say that these deaths can be completely eliminated, but there are a lot of families that spend a LOT of time running around everyday trying to fit in enough jobs to stay afloat, childcare and activities, and all the shopping, etc...and it's all done by car.  Fewer trips would mean fewer chances to forget a child (being able to afford to live slower or live centrally could reduce the trips), and if more people could meet more of their needs without resorting to a car, that would also cut down on the chances of forgetting a kid in the car.  It's hard to forget a kid in the car if you're not using one, and while it's possible to leave a child on a bus, in a store, etc....it's a much different situation. 

 

eta: and of course, while you don't need to be stressed or sleep deprived to forget a kid, those factors just make things worse.

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#10 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 07:51 PM
 
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I think we need to learn more about what behavior or patterns are more associated with car/heat deaths.  I wonder if non-typical drivers of children are more likely to forget the kids? Or typical drivers on non-typical routes?  If you do not usually bring your child to the grocery store - might you be more likely to forget them than if you do typically bring a child to the grocery store? It would be interesting to see how routine plays into this.

 

I read these tips on another page and thought I would share:

 

1. Starting today, put a teddy bear or stuffed animal in your child's car seat. When your child is in his or her car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder your child is in the backseat.

2. Keep your lunch bag, employee badge, or purse in the backseat. That way, you'll always reach into your backseat or open your back door when you arrive at your destination.

3. Have an ironclad policy with your day-care provider that if your child does not show up, that person will call a provided list of contacts to confirm his or her whereabouts. "In so many cases, if the day-care provider would have called, tragedy could have been averted," says Fennell.


Read more: http://www.momlogic.com/2009/06/baby_dies_in_hot_car.php#ixzz2YVotaVrL


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#11 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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After ds1 was born our first outing and I totally forgot I even had a baby. I was with my aunt and she too forgot. Thsnkfully he was out there for no more than 10 minutes and it wasn't hot or too cold. I've not made that mistake since

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#12 of 13 Old 07-08-2013, 10:47 PM
 
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It's disturbing.  I read that in 2011 49 U.S. children succumbed to heatstroke after being forgotten in hot cars.  Some experts recommend putting an essential item in the back seat — a purse or a briefcase, for example — to remind parents to take their kids out of the car.

 

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#13 of 13 Old 07-15-2013, 05:08 PM
 
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I completely believe it could happen to anyone. I've never had a close call in that regard, but I don't believe I'm exempt from that sort of brain lapse, or that parents who experience this are horrible people who don't love their children. Every time another story is reported, I feel sick and horrified at the thought of what the poor child experienced, and then I feel sick and horrified at the thought of the eternal anguish the parent must feel, and how so many people will forever view them as the monster who killed their baby. The whole thing just breaks my heart.

I think that it's foolhardy to refuse to believe that we're all capable of this. Believing it's impossible might make you not take the steps outlined above (putting a stuffed animal in the front seat, putting your purse in the backseat, etc.), because if you think this can't happen to you, why bother taking precautions against it?

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