To wonder how its possible for someone to forget about their baby [Warning: distressing news story](160 Posts)
3 deaths in 2 weeks in a tiny country. How is it possible to forget about your baby. Btw I don't think any of these were people who just nipped into the shops and left their babies in the car on purpose. But struggling to understand how it's possible to happen by accident?
These stories are always so sad
From what I've read of previous cases, it often happens when a parent has the child and they're out of their usual routine...so a parent who doesn't normally do the nursery drop off has the child in the car, forgets about them and drives straight to work.
I guess that would explain why it tends to happen to young babies who may well be quiet/asleep and also rearfacing and so easier to 'forget'.
FWIW I a very intelligent, organised adult and I managed to forget about baby DC2 in the car once. As DespicableYou says, it often happens when you are taking part in a busy routine and your brain ticks off that the task has been done - in my case I left DD in the car when I went to pick DS up from nursery as she had actually stopped screaming (DD has been quiet in the car perhaps twice in her life) so my brain assumed she wasn't in the car as I
could hear myself think couldn't hear her.
I realised after 5 minutes, but I can see how it happens. So sad.
well are you suggesting it's deliberate? Of course it's possible - poor babies and poor families
[Warning from MNHQ: article is distressing]
Read [http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-03-08/news/36840402_1_courtroom-tissue-class-trip this]. It won a Pulitzer, and opened my eyes considerably.
[Warning from MNHQ: article is distressing]
Here is a fantastic piece of writing on this subject that explains exactly how it can happen. http://www.pulitzer.org/works/2010-Feature-Writing
[Warning from MNHQ: article is distressing]
Crap. Read this.
[Warning from MNHQ: article is distressing]
Apologies - crossposted with wharrgarbl, it's the same article
Can I just explain that when I said 'forget' I wasn't implying that they it was deliberate (and I realise you weren't directing that to me, gordy, or at least I didn't think you were).
Rather, I meant that like pourquoi says - their brain has already ticked off the task, so they aren't 'forgetting' as such, or that's not what their brain is doing.
Oh, I can't explain it properly, but that's what I meant.
I've read the article and it has stayed with me; makes you realise how easily it can happen and has certainly made me that little bit more vigilant.
I walk to nursery with ds and sometimes am amazes at how I've zoned out and missed huge chunks of the journey daydreaming or just on autopilot. If I was driving I can't be sure I'd never miss out a step.
how utterly sad, those poor families will never recover from these events, not only have they lost a child, but will have to live with their own guilt and the judgement of others
I do find it odd though to have such a cluster, you would think people might be more careful in the wake of a tragedy, it might raise their awareness that these things are possible. like when there is a spate of accidents at level crossings in this country, or kids drowning in family paddling pools, and you think - did they not SEE what happened just last week.
tragic, just tragic.
no it wasn't I am just trying to fathom where the middle ground is between 'I don't believe it' and 'not that I am saying it's deliberate' - surely it's one or the other (from the OP)
I am crying and I don't want to read anymore.
I once wondered why I could hear a baby crying in my house. I had completely and utterly forgotten that I had another child#4 in this case!!! Took me minutes for my brain to kick in and remind me that it was my baby crying and I wasn't a sleep deprived mum either.
I often forget to do things that were in the forefront of my mind on the way to work - a 7 minute cycle ride away.
Hmm in fact more than once I forgot to collect a dc from the childminder
I have forgotten about ds2 in the car before. Only for a few minutes but still...I always drop ds2 at my mums at 7.45am then ds1 at breakfast club at 8am, then to work by 8.20am. Always.
One morning ds1 nagged and nagged to go straight to breakfast club for some reason, so we did.
As I pulled into my space in work, ds2 asked me a question and I nearly crashed the car I jumped so high. I had completely forgotten he was there and I was miles away, mentally planning my morning meetings.
Ds2 was 3 years old and had just been unusually quiet since the school drop off...I do wonder though, if he had been a baby that was sound asleep...I don't think it's beyond anyone tbh.
It's a very very sad situation and I feel nothing but pity for the parents in most of the circumstances.
I nearly left dd1 on a bus. I was with dd2 in the buggy space, and dd1 (she was 6 or 7 at the time) went and sat down at the back. It was during the school holidays and I wasn't used to her being with me so when we got to our bus stop I nearly got off without her.
Nearly though, I'm not sure I'd actually manage it. Usually when I'm on my own I keep checking, thinking I've left something behind.
Really really sad stories though.
very possible sadly.
I expect babies get forgotten sbout in cars more often than we hear about. Most will be quickly remembered and retrieved. Hopefully most of the ones that do get left longer are normally ok but in this hot weather (and at the time of year when parents are rushing between sports days etc) it's more likely to end in tragedy than in a mild spring or autumn.
I left my 8 year old DD on a bus in similar circumstances.
I felt so ashamed.
It's horrendous, but I could see how it could happen, especially with 2nd/3rd/4th children. Twice I have got in the car with the kids, been about to pull away when DD has said 'mummy you forgot to strap me in!' It's always if I have been jolted out of the usual routine, once it was when I had put DD in the car then suddenly remembered I needed something from the house, the other time it was when a neighbour had started chatting to me while I was getting the kids in the car.
I imagine there have been more cases recently as it is hotter than usual?
Perhaps lessons can be learned from this, and car seat manufactors could come up with a soltion.
These are tragic accidents and i do believe that the parents genuine forgot.
my Mother left me in my pram outside a shop once and walked half way home before it occurred to her she did not have something she set out with!!!
Friend did similar the other week - her DH normally drops off the DCs in the morning, but she took their toddler to drop off at nursery as the DH was staying for the older DCs school assembly.
Only she drove straight to work, only to get the fright of her life when the toddler said "wheee" going over the speed bump in the car park. An hour round trip back to drop her off. If she had been asleep then she could easily have been left all day.
What an amazing and chilling article.
I have driven to work in sleep deprived state to realise I forgot to drop dd off first. Very easy to do. Very easy to judge.
Oh God I wish I hadn't read that article.
YABU. It is easier than you think. As demonstrated here.
Very sad cases . Particularly in areas not used to this weather, it's not drilled in so much to prevent these things. I grew up in the States where it's more common and there are media campaigns every year along the road to help remind people. It really is sadly so easy if you go into autopilot.
I once forgot toddler DD2 when we were out and after counting her older siblings into a place as I always I remembered (because 3 was missing) and realized I couldn't see her, I started to panic to DH that I'd lost her. He then pointed at her - she was physically attached to me in the carrier. She was at an age where she was rarely carried but was tired and it was so busy. I felt so silly, still do when
DH its brought up.
Every summer we hear of these sad cases.
I'm guessing babies left in cars when the weather is mild survive and therefore don't make the news, which makes me wonder how many babies are forgotten by busy stressed parents.
I've read about this before and it's very possible for this to happen to someone by accident and it's devastating for the families.
Just read that article - see the point about all the circumstances aligning.
But also think that if you see on the news that it happened to someone else, well, it would remind you to be extra vigilant.
And yes babies left in car in colder weather would survive, although cars are like greenhouses, so even a warm day (as opposed to a very hot day) would be a problem.
I suppose also because I don't drive to work (use train) and because I don't drive my DC to school or nursery (walk there first) its harder to imagine.
I also think that car and also car seat manufacturers need to improve detection systems - eg if your car seat seat belt is fastened then the car won't lock and an alarm goes off?
That article says products have been designed but they don't make it to market because who would buy them when a lot of people think it couldn't happen to them. I'd snap one up in a heartbeat if I had a car just in case.
re: products - would have to be standard in all cars / all car seats.
By law, as yes people wouldn't buy otherwise.
I left DD in a shop once. And when DH asked where the baby was, I said "what baby?". Totally forgot her existence for those few minutes. She was about a month old.
Dh once left baby dd3 in her cot & went out to help a friend move furniture.
He didnt realise he had left her until I got home and realised he was out & she wasn't...
Another one here who was left outside a shop in a pram. My dm only realised when she was on the bus home.
I believe it could happen to anyone, I'm actually relieved I don't have a car anymore as I'm quite forgetful anyway.
That article is one of the saddest things I've ever read. I'm pregnant with dc1, but will certainly take on board the tip about leaving something you need in the back of the car as a reminder.
Just read the entire Washington Post article. I have no words to adequately explain my reaction.I feel such overwhelming sadness for all the people concerned. I'm resisting the urge to wake 10 month old DS up for a cuddle. Heart-breaking reading.
if they can make cars with alarms that sound to tell you the light is left on, or a door is not shut, or numerous other warnings - surely there is something they can do about this.
I have just read the article - so moving and powerful. Wonderfully written.
I feel a bit sick though - very much a feeling of 'there by the grace of god go I' ... Or whatever the equivalent is for an atheist like me.
So far, I have only once driven past the childminder's house (which is on my way to work anyway) before realising that I had DD1 In the car still and had to do a u-turn.
It said in the article that it nearly was made law (in the US i think) but the car companies would have overridden it for some reason or other so it was dropped. Don't want to read the article again to find the reason given.
Since watching an episode of Oprah featuring a mother who had done this, I now have DD in the front at all times (airbag switched off). Even with her chattering away to me, I've managed to get half way to work without dropping her at nursery first. Scary stuff.
McNewPants, I think the technology already exists. In my partner's car, if you have a crash, it automatically alerts the emergency services with precise location and the number of people in the car, which is judged by weight distribution on the seat. So presumably if a car was locked when it could feel there was someone in the car, it would be quite easy for it to trigger the alarm or horn or something to alert you.
I've only ever come across that feature in his car, but you would think if it was going to save horrible tragedies of this sort, it should be as standard as airbags etc.
i left my daughter outside tescos for 3 hours when she was about a month old, this was late 1970s, i had taken her older brother to playgroup, went shopping, walked home, a couple of hours later went to pick him up, realised something missing, OMG the baby have never run up the road so fast in all my life, and only excuse at the time was daughter was a poor sleeper she would only sleep twenty minutes at a time in each 3 hours, and her brother was a lively 4 year old, ironically no one had noticed the pushchair because she had slept all the way through being left there,
Brilliant idea to put something on the back seat you need, so you have to go back before you leave.
Nearly left DD2 at school the other day - she's 12 weeks old! Took DD1, needed to talk to the teacher so parked the pram at the bottom of the classroom steps (in the playground) but slightly tucked away into a bit of shade and with the cover up. Chatted to teacher and got caught in the middle of Wake and Shake so had to side-step, with teacher, off the dance stage! Then bumped into the Dad of a new friend of DD1. This friend has just moved here and wanted DD1 to go to her house to play so I was walking across the playground with him, while he told me how to find their place and we sorted out times etc. Then, as we walked out of the school gate he said "And you'll bring the baby?" I said "Shit, the baby" and had to run back through the middle of Wake and Shake to retrieve her much to the amusement of the entire school. But it was only funny because she was in a safe place and I remembered fairly quickly.
My gran went on holiday and left my aunt asleep in a carry cot on the dining room table. Gran put her in there to keep it quiet so she'd sleep while they packed everything up and the she, Grandad and Mum (aged 4) walked the half hour to the station with all their luggage. It was as they were sitting on the platform waiting for the train that mum said "Didn't the baby want to come on holiday with us?" That could have been a tragedy too. It is just so easily done.
There was a spate of these in Europe last year . I wondered then why nurseries etc don't have a system of phoning parents who haven't dropped off a child and haven't phoned in. Schools manage to do it.
I read the whole article and while I can completely understand why you might forget I don't understand why your mind doesn't click later on. Once you start into your normal job I know my mind starts to replay the morning without my being totally aware, and it's at that point that I'll remember I didn't lock the car/ feed the cats/ pick my phone up/ post a letter - whatever I'd planned to do. Or I'll suddenly see in my mind's eye my lunch sitting on the kitchen worktop. Would your brain not suddenly tick into "I don't remember stopping at nursery"?
its has taking some googling but i have found the solution.
Tallulah - doesn't it depend what you are doing?
In my old job, for example, there would be quiet days when I was computer based and then yes, my mind would probably tick over as you described. But I also had days when 120 kids showed up for a special workshop and on those days I'd have no idea what I'd done that morning as it would all have been too frantic.
Absolutely heartbreaking and i cannot find an ounce of me that thinks 'how could you forget?' Perhaps I am just forgetful but my goodness, i can see so clearly how this happens... so not sure if the question was there but YABU
Just tragic - wish i hadn't read that article just before bed
amothersplaceisinthewrong are you my daughter?
I was so dozy when I had DS1 that I had to put my handbag next to the babyseat.
Obviously, I don't love my handbag more than my baby, but I had had 15 years of grabbing my bag and getting out of the car.
People are creatures of habit, unfortunately this is one habit that can result in no second chances...
That article was heartbreaking How awful. I'm very forgetful; glad I don't drive.
I find it horrifying and hard to understand and although I know it's said that it could happen to anyone, I firmly believe I would not do it. But I don't drive and my ds is an adult anyway now.
If you look at some of the accounts of when it's happened in the U.S., the parent basically drives to work instead of going to the daycare first, and gets out of the car without realising the baby/child is still in there. I can't imagine behaving like that because when my ds was little and in a car, we'd be constantly checking on him or talking to him. Also when we had a family car (his dad drove) there's no way a driver would get out without noticing the child in the back, even if they forgot.
Anyway, it happens, though as far as I know not in the UK? So I think there ought to be devices in cars to set off alarms if someone is left in the car and it's locked up or whatever. Arranging for the nursery to call if the child doesn't arrive would also help in some cases.
I would never judge these parents - I'm massively forgetful since DS. I am wondering if it might happen more with big cars? Only because I am aware of how tiny mine is (3 door) so hard not to see DS in it when getting out or walking past (and v old so no central locking, meaning you have to look in a bit when clocking drivers side, check passenger side maybe and hence look into car more).
I wonder if this might be part of the reason it happens a lot in US (though obviously the extreme weather is the reason it results in such tragedy).
If DS2 was still a little baby I could see this happening to me (though happily I park in a garage at the office, so while he would be annoyed he would be safe).
I take DS1 to OOSH at 7am and drive directly to work, DH takes DS2 to daycare.
When things change for some reason I have to constantly remind myself about the change, I have driven past the daycare when I was supposed to be collecting him. I have taken my usual turns when intending to go somewhere else after work.
Every day I do the same thing, it can be difficult to override the auto-pilot and if the baby is quietly asleep and the carseat is usually there, I could see how it could happen.
It is truly terrifying and so sad. Thinking about it, I think I would have forgotten DS somewhere or something like that if I had to take him somewhere on the way to work -your mind disengages. I work part-time and leave him at home with childminder/DP.
I have once thought that I forgot to do up his car-seat as I had obviously loosened it when we got home, unloaded something else, then came back to him not strapped in. I couldn't remember strapping him in at the start of the journey or unstrapping him. Definitely a case of it being something out of my normal routine.
Awful, tragic, heartbreaking. Those poor parents and children.
Its horrifying but yes it could happen to anyone, I have forgotten to put the littlest into the car, suddenly realizing they are sat in their car seat in the front porch.
I remember being 5 years old and having a new baby sister. It was sunmertime and my mum was getting ready to take us out for the day. As we were walking out the house I said 'isn't the baby coming with us?' And my mum rushed back inside to get her. Shows how easy it can happen
I have read the Washington post article before and it really haunted me. The babies are left so long because in the parents' minds they think they have dropped them off at daycare/nursery so no need to then think about it or check further.
To do with the ancient reptilian part of our brain which ticks off something as 'done' even though it was the wrong something, and then carries on.
Chilling. The thing with alarms/handbags in the back etc is I think they might not take off as we would all think 'I would never do that' but all those poor parents would have said exactly the same.
Imagine if your partner usually dropped your child off but you did it instead on your usual way to work.
Except your child fell asleep and you started thinking about your morning meeting. It would be very easy to go on auto pilot and drive to work, park your car and go inside. If you didn't udualky
...stupid phone...if you didn't usually take your child you'd have no reason to look in the back etc
Think it's more likely to happen if you alter your routine so one day on the way to nursery you drop off something to your mum on the way - your brain thinjs it's done the drop off of the day abd carries on.
If someone who didn't usually take my child did so and it was to drop them off rather than final destination if the trip I would def ring the daycare and check as it seens frighteningly easy to happen I wouldn't ring the oerson who was supposed to drop them off as they would in all likelihood think they had
I used to change my older child's nappy, stand him up to walk away, then change baby's nappy - and sometimes I would stand baby up expecting him to walk off!
I did that once with a 3 week old and I don't know what kind of Ninja reflex made me catch him, but for a minute I could not figure out why he wouldn't walk!
I'm not going to read the article, skimming the thread is enough for me.
so tragic, but sleep deprivation can have awful consequences, whether driving whilst overtired and causing an accident or forgetting to unplug the iron and burning the house down...
poor babies, poor families, just terrible
My mum took me into town as a baby, which was a walk of more than a mile, parked the pram outside the shop (which was what you did in those days) and did her shopping. When she finished she went home on the bus, having completely forgotten she'd left me outside the shop.
She got home, realised she didn't have me and had to catch the bus back into town. I was still asleep in the pram outside the shop.
But then, Mum has always been known for having a rubbish memory.
That Washington post article is haunting. The poor poor man who deactivated his motion sensor alarm three times thinking it was just faulty.
My friend's mum left her in a supermarket trolley once. She went to the car to meet her husband who just said "Haven't you forgotten something?" and it took her a good few minutes to realise he meant the baby!
God. Have you read the linked article, OP? Harrowing. It's an accident that could happen to anyone.
My MIL forgot her baby (much loved, much wanted) in the greengrocer's. I told this story to another mum on the maternity ward and it turned out she had been left as a baby under similar circumstances. We decided it was probably down to some kind of baby brain/possible PND.
I think, having read the story about the woman leaving her baby in the car while she was at work in the USA the other week, that a combination of sleep deprivation, having to go back to work too soon (ie when the baby is still keeping you up all night, and you are still very connected to the baby, in a tangible physical hormonal sense, can conspire to make things like this happen.
I have not left my babies anywhere, well not for more than a few seconds, without remembering them, BUT when ds3 was a week or two old I remember waking from a nap - day or night, I don't even know - and thinking he was not in the bed beside me - and thinking, where is he??! and walking frantically round the house looking everywhere before realising that he was, in fact, sound asleep on the bed, but because of my sleeping/waking/dreaming state I hadn't seen him there.
Babies do affect people's cognitive abilities, and this should be taken far more seriously by a government who is putting parents in the awful position of having to function on a working level while their babies are too small.
Not trying to use it to make a political point but I do think it might be connected iyswim.
Sorry, obviously I AM trying to make a point - but I don't want to be disrespectful to the babies who have lost their lives.
Yes I agree harrowing. But still wonder if its more likely to happen when people are driving when they aren't really safe to drive (eg being overtired).
Putting bag in back seat might help but do wonder if easier to forget bag than forget a baby? Also see that risks are higher when child is asleep and also when normal routine is disrupted.
Plus still think this is something that car and car seat manufacturers need to be forced to address.
I wish I hadn't read that article before bed too. I didn't sleep for a couple of hours. The description of the worst case that had been seen will stick in my mind forever.
Awful, and it is the case that it could happen to anyone.
I think I would end my own life if I did this. I couldn't live with myself. I really feel for those babies and parents.
Busy + tired + fragmented mind that only small kids can cause = this sort of thing happening. There but for the grace of God....
Nasa employees did come up with a solution but worries about malfunction resulting in a death of an infant means no company will manufacture it.
I read that article and cried. It's utterly horrendous and I feel so much for those parents.
I don't drive, and honestly after reading that I don't know if I would let anyone else drive my son to nursery.
God it must be awful for something like that to happen to you.
Amazing article but a difficult read.
I think that it's easy to say as parents that we wouldn't make that mistake but it's not that clear cut.
So, so sad - and so terrifyingly easy to do. The info in the article from the memory specialist shows how the brain works to 'tick things off' and that with the alignment of a perfect storm of factors shows how it's not "forgetting" but something which we actually have less control over.
The 3 babies were all girls. Don't know if anything should be read into that.
There must be a technological way to reduce this.
Just read that article, absolutely harrowing. Those poor poor families.
I got about half way down the article, and it just kept going on and on and I have had to stop.
I have a 3 week old DC2 and can see how you'd forget one child when the normal routine has altered and you're sleep-deprived.
I don't buy the argument about legal liability if the NASA device malfunctioned - this product is needed and should be made a legal requirement, in the same way child car seats/seat belts etc are. Anyway, surely the manufacturers would make enough profit to make up for any potential claims?
As far as marketing, I can't imagine anyone would still think "this wouldn't happen to me" after reading that article...
You know, there is something we can do. We can be super, super vigilant about babies in cars. Every time we pass a parked car we can look in it and make sure the child seats are empty.
We can try and get supermarkets and large workplaces to patrol their car parks in a similar manner.
We can campaign to get some kind of child alarm system put into place.
But mostly, for now, we can look, in every car we see parked and call the police if there is a child or baby (especially if crying, but even if asleep) inside.
I have seen a baby left in a car, in a hot supermarket car park and I did alert the shop or the police, I can't remember which. It's only likely to be for a few minutes, at most if forgotten an hour or two in a supermarket but still that would be long enough.
The police will be wasting their time in many cases but it might just save a child's life.
Someone kindly told me my baby was crying in the spring at Scats car park, when I had left the car, with ds2 (6) in charge, for five minutes to buy pet food...I knew ds3 would probably cry if he woke, and he did, but when she was peering into the car I was watching it too from the checkout and about to sprint back. We exchanged a smile and a brief acknowledgment that I was very grateful to her, and thanked her for being so vigilant.
If we all do what she did it would be a safer world for babies.
When ds's 1 and 2 were babies we didn't have airbags in the car and they always travelled in the front passenger seat while they were rear facing as did all my friends children. It would have been impossible to have forgotten them. With ds3 we had an airbag so he went in the back. I can see how much easier it would be to forget he was there.
Zingwidge - I've done similar. When getting my two dressed once I had ds1 (2) on my lap and was putting his socks on. Finished, plonked him on the floor in front of me to sit on the play mat.
Then picked up ds2 (who was about 6 weeks) to do the same...got the socks on him and did the same, leant forward and put him on the mat in a sitting position then sat back.
I realised a split second before he face-planted the floor but wasn't quite in time. Other than having a nasty shock he (and me!) was fine but it just shows what auto-pilot can do to you.
I'm sure there are plenty of people thinking 'what idiot could forget a 6 week old baby can't sit up'...but I suppose that's the point, you'd never think you could do something so thoughtless/stupid until you do.
This had broke my heart just terrifying.
Agree with Rooney there must be something we could all do to try and stop this happening- I will keep a check out like you suggested.
I'm trying to think of something I could make part of my driving routine but my mind is blank tbh
How horrific, I have never done it but will be even more vigilant now. I couldn't live if that happened to me
I left dd2 in a shop once. It's something that's utterly incomprehensible until it happens to you.
I was meeting friends for lunch. On the way I popped into a shop to pick up something I needed. Their tills all went down and they couldn't take card so I had to get cash from the machine outside. Dc2 was about 11 months and sitting in a pushchair.
I popped outside for the cash with her, pushed her back in the shop, joined the queue, paid for my item and after a brief chat to the sales person I inexplicably left the shop without her and made my way to the restaurant.
When I got there my friends asked me where she was and for honestly about 2-3 minutes I had no idea where she was.
It was one the most horrifying, shameful, disturbing and terrifying moments of my entire life. To this day I have no idea why I just forgot her. It was absolutely sickening. I am usually very organised, check-everything-twice type person.
Luckily she was right where I left her.
I had been through a very busy period: return to work after mat leave, brand new job, moved house.. but I didn't feel sleep deprived or stressed.
It can happen to anyone.
Also...I know this might sound like I am having a pop at those of us who have to use daycare.
BUT I have noticed a kind of inverse parallel thing (not sure what you call it) where the more you delegate, or share, the childcare responsibility, the more likely you are to be able to switch off the part of your brain that says 'you have a baby'.
So for example when I was younger and had ds1, my mother lived round the corner and she came over to help, a LOT. My mind was not fully geared up to take responsibility - so I would sometimes feel annoyed if she Couldn't come over, for some reason. Mostly I was with ds, but when I wasn't, I had to switch off the brain messages, the instincts, as in those moments, I was nOT holding a baby, someone else was in charge of him.
I'm not saying no one should have any help. But I know people who share parenting with a partner they no longer live with, and they are always behaving like they almost FEEL it's not their responsibility, because, you know, the boundaries aren't very clear and it could just as easily be the other parent's job.
But more simply, when your baby is at a nursery you aren't using the instincts that say 'you have a baby', that might be a good kind of buffer to stop this sort of thing happening, SO, it might follow that it is easier for people to forget their child is with them if they are USED to switching off the triggers, the alarm system in their heads, for extended periods every day.
I think a lot of people don't even want to send their child to nursery and go to work, especially when the baby is very little. Circumstances and our society make it very hard to resist the push to go to work though.
I am not sure what I am trying to say here, probably that we have got very good instincts and that we should make the most of them.
Plus still think this is something that car and car seat manufacturers need to be forced to address
In the article it stated that # NASA workers had come up with a device that alerted parents when they left the car that the baby was still in it. They did so after one co-worker experienced this. It goes on to say that no manufacturer had taken on the design.
The inventors could not find a commercial partner willing to manufacture it. One big problem was liability. If you made it, you could face enormous lawsuits if it malfunctioned and a child died. But another big problem was psychological: Marketing studies suggested it wouldn't sell well. The problem is this simple: People think this could never happen to them
The article shook me and I really felt for the dad, if you have murdered someone in cold blood then I imagine that hearing the details of your crime etc wouldn't phase you but having to hear how your little one died in pain because of an accident you unintentionally caused must be mind blowingly painful
That does make sense RooneyMara
I can totally see how it's possible to do this in the rush of day to day life. I frequently find myself having to do a quick check over my shoulder on the way to work, just to make sure that I have actually dropped off my youngest child...and I know a family member has arrived at work and noticed his wee one still in the back of the car. Then my second was a baby I used to think all the time how easy it would be to rush out and leave her in her car seat in the house by mistake by the time I'd hustled my eldest, the dog etc. into the car.
So tragic, but totally possible...
I think I see what you mean.
when I have all the kids I'm aware what's going on as I'm in charge.
when DH is home too we each "wait" for the other to react or "expect the other" to deal with a situation.
so I'm not so jumpy as I'm only half aware, not "fully" responsible.
is that what you meant?
Anyway, surely the manufacturers would make enough profit to make up for any potential claims?
But the potential for it to fail must be great if no one will go ahead & take it on. Also, if it were YOUR company, would you just shrug infant deaths off as "potential claims?" Would would those infant deaths do to the company? Also, would YOU want your company, your employees and of course, yourself, to have the death of a child on your hands? Because I don't think anyone would.
What if parents became SO reliant on it & the batteries failed? It isn't really fail safe is it? No piece of equipment is when it comes to babies & I know I wouldn't buy it, not because I am of the attitude that it wouldn't happen to me (there for the grace of God - my children are older & would create if left in the car) but because I would be scared to put my trust in a machine. I know parents who can't even remember to turn the intercom on, how are they going to make sure this equipment is working?
What if there was a way to deactivate the unit & the parents did so, so they could leave baby in the car for "2 minutes" to pop in the shop? Or sleeping in the drive way? And they forgot to reactivate it?
Too much reliance on a machine, imo.
Yes Zing that is totally what I meant. Thankyou.
Yes. The article is very hard to read.
It says that there were plans to introduce safety systems in new cars to prevent this sort of thing but they were dropped because it wouldn't have gotten past the car manufacturers lobbying.
Have now read the article.
It's one of the most unsettling things I've ever read. It is not so much that I cannot imagine the pain and torture that you would go through, knowing you killed your own child (and worse, imagining the pain they might have been in), more that I just don't want to even go there.
You would never forgive yourself.
But DNFT - these are deaths which would have happened regardless of the presence of this machinery, so not caused by it? If you forget to put your child's seatbelt on and have a crash, it's not the seatbelt that has caused the crash ITSWIM.
In the same way, I don't drive around more recklessly thinking "it's ok, I have seatbelts in the car" (FWIW I've read that people have been having more minor accidents since the advent of seatbelts, but nobody can deny that they have saved lives in potentially fatal crashes)
I think this technology would save many lives but probably (sadly) nobody would install it into their car to begin with unless they had to.
and that is when things go tits up or worse!
DS5 came close to drowning once while we were both watching him crawling into a shallow river!
I think we both thought the other one will jump, but for a good 20 seconds neither of us moved!
I should have jumped but all I could do is shout. DS5 was/is ok, but I still feel awful about it.
And I'm 1000% sure I wouldn't have hesitated if I had been on my own!
( in fact I did manage to react another time when he was chocking on a sweet and I did save his life - guess what, DH was upstairs, and out of sight!)
there's a beautiful Hymn with the words:
"Could a mother's tender care,
Cease towards the child she bear?
Yes, she may forgetful be...."
it always makes me cry...
I read an article about this a few years ago, and it has stuck in my mind. I don't think it was the one linked, I'm not going to read it.
My SIL had once arranged to come and mind my two younger DCs while I collected my eldest from school. She arrived late, so I already had the baby in the car. I left the toddler with her. I picked up the eldest and went to get a couple of things from the shop. I took my eldest in with me, I forgot about the baby. Luckily we were only in there for five mins, but it really made me understand how these things can happen. In my mind, I had checked the baby off as being with SIL, as had been planned.
Thankfully, we don't use childminders or anything like that, otherwise I'd be really worried about doing it again.
Reading this and thinking - I could NEVER forget my baby! What sort of person does that?
However in all honestly, I maybe could. Any of us could.rich people could, poor people could, all it takes is a change of routine. And that is truly terrifying.
I can't imagine the grief those parents are facing. To know you are responsible for your child's death, that it could have so easily been prevented would be torture.
Off to give my two a cuddle
I can see how it would happen, I've forgotten to do DD's seatbelt up once when I was distracted. I have to do a journey this afternoon that I wouldn't normally have DD with me for, I'll make sure I put the big changing bag on the front seat next to my handbag as a reminder.
I think Rooney is on to something.
When I had my eldest children, DH worked long hours, six or seven days a week so I had sole responsibility for them. I rarely ever left home without them and I don't remember ever losing track of one.
But when I had my youngest, born when his siblings were teenagers, I had two near misses, where I totally forgot about him. I think the combination of four of us taking care of him - DH worked from home and the teens loved to babysit babysit their little brother - plus many years as a unencumbered adult nipping around on my own, meant I didn't feel the weight of responsibility in the way I had the first time round.
I can see how a sleeping baby could be left in a car. That article made for a harrowing read.
yep. done that morecthan once.
in fact when DS2 was born and we brought him home from the hospital DH realized he strapped baby in the seat, but didn't strap in the seat itself!
DS2 was literally less than 12 hours old.
also we changed car seats around for a trip to Whipsnade (about2 hours drive) and when we got there DH did a sharp turn and this time it was a 2nd stage carseat that tumbled off the seat, upside down! again, DH forgot to strap the chair in. I was livid, DH was mortified.
so lucky that it was a 5-point harness and DS3 was smaller so his head didn't hit the floor!
(just to explain, we have an 8-seater and one seat was taken out- the space of which the child car seat flipped into)
thank fuck we weren't involved in a accident either time.
and since Whipsnade I double check straps.
actually the more I think the more lucky escapes I remember.
- DS1 almost falling out of a window because I didn't know he can climb up,
- DS5 running on to the road because I was distracted and let go of his hand, thankfully there were no cars in sight
- DS4 pulling out the biggest knife from the dishwasher - I was literally 2 steps away but turned away to get a wipe
- DS2 biting into my glass and breaking it - he had not a scratch, despite his mouth being full of glass shards.
also all the other accidents that I ever heard of - just because these things happen.
I was going to post that article too - it stays with you once you've read it. Maybe the simplest change it suggests is to put the car seat behind the passenger seat, not behind the driver's seat.
Yes this is it, when you drop a child at nursery, for the day, you HAVE to switch off your automatic 'where's the baby' sensor because you would go quietly mad otherwise.
You have to remind yourself at the start, that someone else has them, that they are not with you for a reason and you don't have to check on them every few minutes.
Therefore you're changing the wiring in your brain, for those sessions and that means your brain knows how to short itself and might be more likely to do so when you ARE in charge of the child?
I don't know.
you mean like "out of sight, out of mind?"
I really wish I hadn't read that Washington post stuff, it's haunted me ever since.
I have always had my car seat behind passenger seat - because that way when you park, baby is on the pavement side. And also easier to see them. In time even with 3 kids, still always have baby car seat at passenger side - as its hardest to get them in and out hence need to be at pavement. Not sure sure why anyone would have at other side?
re: comments - above:
The inventors could not find a commercial partner willing to manufacture it. One big problem was liability. If you made it, you could face enormous lawsuits if it malfunctioned and a child died. But another big problem was psychological: Marketing studies suggested it wouldn't sell well. The problem is this simple: People think this could never happen to them.
I agree and thats why such a device would have to required by law. Yes it could still malfunction, but parents wouldn't really be aware it was fitted - it would just be sometime fitted as standard into all cars and all car seats.
If they weren't aware it was fitted, how would they use it? And how could they trust it if it can malfunction? It just renders it useless as an alert if sometimes it doesn't go off. People won't be able to rely on it.
Forever, I have my baby's seat fitted on the left as you're driving.
This is because the time we use the car most often is at school, and we normally park against the left hand side pavement - so you can see that it is safer to have the baby seat on the pavement side.
I will admit to forgetting dd once though, she was 4months old and I'd been at college from 6am to 2pm then work from 2.30-6pm...I then drove home, straight past the nursery dd was in!!! I didn't realise til I got to the front door! Felt absolutely awful, I did put it down to tiredness though!
I have read the articles posted by zoetstoffen.
I feel physically ill. Not with anger, or judgemental of the parent, but total sympathy and sorrow.
I feel so sorry for the,parents. No just that they had to go through the loss, but the legal battle aswell.
My heart bleeds.
Sory, why are we discussing this again?
Is it possible?
of course it's possible.
what a stupid question.
God I am chilled to the bone by that article - heartbreaking .
What's worse is on the herald link in their current stories at the bottom is a link to a story on a woman who's just been charged for very same thing.
This is one that will stay with me.
Link re: car alarms - after the 3 deaths in Israel all new cars to have safety alarms built in as standard. I guess takes time for all cars to have such an alarm but definately step in right direction and hopefully technology will go global.
I read that article a few years ago and have been thinking about it a lot since the hot weather started. I think it could easily happen to any of us.
Not sure it is an argument against mothers working/parents sharing care though.
I wish I hadn't read that article.
I think it's knowing/imagining the type of pain the dc suffered and then that stomach wrenching moment the parents experience on discovery of what has happened that makes this so hard to comprehend.
I don't understand why though the safety devices haven't been made available - something built in to the child seat - why haven't enough people lobbied for this - could mn help? That is a campaign I would put my voice to and am sure integers would too.
Wish there was a warning about that article. I have a 10 month old. I read the article this morning and I can't sleep for thinking about those poor babies.
I know it gets a message across but it was so distressing. I really feel sick.
An Australian woman has today been charged with manslaughter over this: www.news.com.au/national-news/victoria/woman-charged-with-manslaughter-over-death-of-baby-girl-near-bendigo/story-fnii5sms-1226680694432
I read that WaPo article before. It is amazing, really moving and disturbing at the same time. It helped me to understand these situations as terrible tragedies. To think you've killed your own child and caused them such pain must be awful.
I have had the opposite situation where I'm in the supermarket while DH takes care of DS, for example, and I keep on absent-mindedly looking for him or leaving the trolley for a minute to go and get something and panicking for a second when I realize it's not next to me. It's like having a phantom limb or something!
If I ever do the school run without the baby I get a jolt every so often thinking 'where on earth is my baby' it's a weird feeling
I can totally get why this can happen. When my oldest was 2 and I had a newborn I didn't get any sleep for months. I filled my diesel car with petrol once (expensive mistake) and forgot to strap the baby's car seat into the seat belt. The two year old had run off whilst putting the baby seat in so I ran after the other and automatically put him in the car and drove off. I didn't realise until I was home and felt devastated.
Another time (pre children) my father and I drove from Wales to London on the M4 and neither of us clocked driving over the Severn Bridge. It was weird.
Autopilot is a dangerous thing combined with sleep deprivation.
Reading this though - I wonder how long it is safe to drive with a baby in the car for?
Is it only when the vehicle is parked that it's so dangerous? (in terms of heat, I mean)
as the last few days I have taken ds3 in the car, he's gone to sleep, I've left him in it to buy petrol and so on - and then when we get home sometimes I mess about doing the front garden or putting bins out and so on while he is still sleeping in his seat.
But I do open the car door, or at least leave the window open. Is this dangerous? And it isn't in direct sunlight either...
I wondered about people who have to drive long distances on a hot day with a baby. Is that dangerous too? (genuine question, we did a 20 mile round trip the other day and I was worried about it being too hot for him)
Also the woman in Aus who left her baby in the car, went out to buy takeaway with her 6yo and 6mo, and then when they got home, they went in and left the baby there from 4.45 till 7.10, so only 2 and a half hours. And that was enough to kill the baby.
It made me think. I wouldn't leave ds3 out of earshot, in case he woke, so we could go to him right away - but that's a shorter period of time than the ones linked to earlier, and in the evening too.
Rooney - it's the combination of direct sunlight and no windows open that make a car an oven, essentially.
when you are driving you notice excessive heat - so as lobg as you are comfortable (windows open or air-con on) baby's ok.
also in the shade with windows/doors open - no problem as there's no excessive heat build up.
and I presume you'll check on baby every 5 mins or so anyway.
We've done that many times.
thankyou Zing. That makes sense.
Our air con doesn't work so it is often very uncomfortable in the car, but we do open the windows to ameliorate it so when we're going along there is some air flow.
take bottles of water with you. I always have a few in the car.
if you break down or stuck in traffic and therefore there's no airflow you can pour/dab/sprinkle some water on baby (or anyone) to cool off.
use a book or a piece of cardboard as a fan
and of course keeping hydrated is very important - again it's good to have some emergency water supply in the car (even if it ends up a bit warm)
That's an incredible article. Amazing. those poor babies.
I've read that Washington Post article before - harrowing but a brilliant piece of journalism.
I was thinking about it, and I wonder if the trend for smoked glass in car windows has also increased the likelihood of this happening? I usually glance in the back of the car as I lock it and walk away - with my previous cars, I could see if anything was left there (usually checking that nothing of monetary value had been left in full sight, rather than children). However, with my current car, (Galaxy) I can't see in the rear windows as they're smoked. So I'd have no idea that I forgotten a child.
I have been fortunate enough never to have forgotten my child, but a colleague has turned up at work and realised that his daughter was still in the car when he was supposed to have dropped her off at nursery - he'd told her to be quiet, as she was being a pain, so she was. It was only when she said 'Isn't this your work, Daddy?' that he remembered she was there.
My mum walked all the way home once leaving my DSis in her pram outside a shop.
Not child related but fits in with the unusual routine theory. DP has a car, I do not. My work is only 25 minutes walk away so usually I walk there and back or sometimes I get a lift from a colleague.
Last week DS had sports day which finished at 11:30am and I needed to be in work for 12pm which wasn't doable on the bus so I borrowed DP's car. When I got to work I parked to the right hand side where I always park if I happen to have the car. When I left work, I walked out of the entrance and straight down the pedestrian step entrance to the car park on the left handside as I do most days as I usually walk. I walked halfway home before realising I had driven to work that day!
Just to let you know, we've posted warnings on the Pulitzer/WaPo article links because a few posters have said how distressing they found it.
nappy addict done that too.
drove to school to pick up DS3, walked to other school ( closer to home) to pick up DS1 & DS2 and walked home.
never even registered that the car was missing from outside our house!
DH asked me where it was when he came home-I had to walk to bloody school at 9pm to get the car.
If most parents believe it couldn't happen to them (which is understandable) perhaps it would help to have nurseries and childminders have a system in place to track children who haven't turned up, same as schools do.
If it was their policy to check all non-arrivals, it wouldn't appear to be singling out any particular parent or implying that they were careless or forgetful.
We've also edited the title to include a warning there as well.
aliasjoey - my son's daycare calls if you haven't arrived by 9am.
Whilst I think a warning is appropriate, as it is upsetting, I do think this needs awareness raised, esp given the current weather in the UK.
Anything thya raises awareness to help prevent tradgedies has to help.
God, that article was gut-wrenching. I can't imagine how horrific it must be for those parents ...
I don't drive, and luckily DS is a chatterbox, but in the morning I am so on autopilot that I don't actually remember much about getting him up, taking him to nursery etc. I was trying to remember what he was wearing this morning and it took me a good ten minutes - I can imagine leaving him on the bus if he stayed quiet for more than 5 minutes!
Totally agree 5MadThings. Sometimes it takes something really shocking to make the message sink in.
The weather is so hot at the moment that even a relatively short space of time could be catastrophic for a child in a car.
I left ds2 (my third) in the car when he was a few months old and I honestly cannot tell you why. I couldn't park the car by the house and had to park a few streets away. I then got out of the car and walked home, went into the house, sat down etc. Dh was there and he asked where ds2 was and at that point I realised I had left him in the car. It wasa hot day as well. I ran back and he was asleep and fine, but I felt awful. I haven't done it since, but really honestly I cannot even explain to myself why i did it, it was completely accidental
I can't read it.
I'd rather not know details.
same reason I don't watch the news or read the papers.
I can't cope...
but I agree, raising awareness is very important.
This mainly seems to occur on the way to dropping off children at daycare/childcare. Couldn't there be a campaign where all nurseries/childminders agree that they will make all efforts to contact parents within half-an-hour for un-notified absences? I know this wouldn't catch every case (due to swiss cheese effect) but it would have to be worth a try.
That's a really good idea neeps not sure how we would go about pushing these suggestions from this thread but am happy to help.
Does anyone know how we might begin to do something to raise awareness?
I wonder if it might be good to spread that article further- I found it very upsetting to read but that's why it stuck with me maybe if we could share on FB/twitter that would be a start- I will ask mumsnet on FB to share- anyone on twitter?
I wouldn't share on my Facebook or twitter as I found the article too graphic and upsetting.
I agree wholeheartedly the awareness has to be raised but found some of the details unnecessary, eg the worst case ever. I wish I had never read that and I would be happier to pass on if some of the detail was toned down a bit.
I do t know how to link articles or if its possible on iPad but I was just reading an article from an American paper and 13 babies/toddlers have died after being left in a hot car in the USA this year alone
On an ipad when you are looking at something on the internet put your finger on the URL
the internet address, that looks a bit like this
then press it again and hold it and it should give you the option to "select all" and then to "copy".
Then go to the place you want to put it (in the writing-box on MN) press and hold again, and you should get the option to paste, whereupon the URL will magically appear in that writing box
Then if you want it to go linky, check the box under the MN-writing-box saying "Convert links automatically"
I shared the (distressing) article along with this video on my face book
I agree the details in the article are graphic, two nights now it's taken me awhile to get to sleep. But I tell you what, I glance in every car I walk past now. It's a distressing article, but if you read it, it really does drive the message home. Whereas the video just points out not to purposely leave your child, or walk away when you see one alone in a car. The article had much more impact on my future actions.
That Washington Post article might be the saddest thing I've ever read. Apologies if I've missed this upthread, but does anyone know if Lyn Balfour went on to have a surrogate baby for the Harrisons?
Thanks Trills, I'll try that. It's shocking that so many babies have died this way in the USA in this year alone. You're right whothefuckfarted, we'll all be more vigilant after that article
Clearly have been thinking about this a lot! On way to work today and realised I actually have a good solution without alarms and things!
I have a mirror attached to my back headrest in the car. It was about £10 from tesco. Means I can see DD everytime I look in my rear view mirror so as long as the mirror is there I know she is in or not in the car. I guess you would just need to make sure the mirror was in any car that your child was going into.
I left DD2 behind at school last week.
I had gone to collect her and, unusually, had DD1 with me.
DD 3 saw my SIL and asked to go around to collect her DS from his classroom. DD1 started to fuss and so SIL took them both around, asking me to wait for her DD, who is in the class next to DD2.
Before the DCs came out, SIL had collected her DS and was back around. I saw her and thought 'great, she's back.'
I took custody of DDs 1&3, and did my mental head count 'one, two...' let's go. I had totally overlooked the fact that I had DD1 with me.
I got 3/4 out of the playground before I remembered that I didn't have DD2 with me.
I think it would be a good idea for an information leaflet to be given out with each car seat. It could alert people to the risks and give advice on what to do if they see a child alone in a car. It would only serve to raise awareness but would be a start.
My friend did something similar with her newly toddling DD.
We were shopping in M&S and I was quite pregnant with my DD at the time. About to leave the shop and she held the door open for me, totally forgetting that her DD was beside her, who legged it out the door and straight into the road. Luckily, I clocked her in time, grabbed her arm (nearly dislocating it, I felt so bad) and yanked her out of the road seconds before a car came hurtling along. She was so close to being hit and if both of us hasn't been there, she likely would've been.
Friend was, is and probably always will be wracked with guilt about it. She just totally forgot in that moment that she had a child.
While sometimes these moments of absentmindedness have such tragic consequences, I can see how they so easily happen.
My mother left me, and 17 years later, my brother in the prams outside shops. We were new babies at the time so she wasn't in the habit of pushing a pram. It amazes me that in 2 1/2 yrs of motherhood that I haven't left an infant behind... yet...
I had a moment earlier where I wondered where DS2 was. I have a seat on top of the pram for DS1. He was sat up there and blocking my view of DS2 who was fast asleep and very quiet in the pram as he should have been. My brain just lost track for a moment.
I could easily forget DS2 in the car- I haven't yet, but I notice DS1's presence more, and when it's nursery day, it's easy to feel like I'm on my own when DS2 is sleeping. I can understand how it happens.
I really wish I hadn't read that article linked to above . How absolutely heartbreaking for anyone involved in these situations. I can completely see that it could happen to anyone.
My mum used to do the nursery run for DS (now 13). We laughed about the day she got to work and DS said something to her and she jumped out of her skin because she thought she had dropped him off at nursery. Easily done with a sleeping baby .
I remember when I was about 8 and my mum came home from the shops (about a 15 minute walk away). As she sat down she said 'I'm sure I've forgotten something'. Then suddenly she looked like this -> , got up and ran from the house. She'd left my newborn baby brother outside the shop in his pram.
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