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How can anyone 'forget' that they've left their toddler in the car for 5 hours?

(127 Posts)
sonearsofar Sun 22-May-11 13:34:29

I've just heard the terrible story in the news today. Apparently an Italian university 'forgot' that he had left his 22 month old toddler in the back of the car. She died after being in there for 5 hours.

coccyx Sun 22-May-11 13:36:39

Oh my goodness. poor child

TheMonster Sun 22-May-11 13:38:52


Curiousmama Sun 22-May-11 13:40:17

shock sad that's so awful.

ginmakesitallok Sun 22-May-11 13:41:16

"The girl's mother, who is eight months pregnant, says what happened to the father could happen to anyone." ???????? shock

edam Sun 22-May-11 13:42:44

that's horrible. Poor, poor child.

Curiousmama Sun 22-May-11 13:42:47

I just read that ginmakes shock Hope that baby is taken off them or watched like a hawk!

TheMonster Sun 22-May-11 13:43:57

Which news site is it on>?

Pagwatch Sun 22-May-11 13:44:04

It is awful. But I can imagine how it would happen to be honest.
A change in routine, a child asleep when you get out of the car and immediately into the routine of the day.

Awful, awful but entirely possible I think

Penthesileia Sun 22-May-11 13:44:26

I read a terrible, tragic article about a number of parents who have done this. All were good, devoted parents, but on the day of the horrible, horrible accident, were stressed, having to do something different to the normal routine, and the child was asleep in the back, hence silent. It was all too easy for them to forget as they drove to work, worrying about other stuff, that their partner hadn't taken the child to nursery that day, to follow the normal route, get out of the car, and go into their offices. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful.

Penthesileia Sun 22-May-11 13:45:02

X-post pag.

Doesn't bear thinking about.

Famouslastwords Sun 22-May-11 13:45:05

shock poor little girl sad

Pagwatch Sun 22-May-11 13:45:13

Dh and I left ds2 at home once. We both thought the other had put him in his seat.
Of course we got no further than the drive but even so.

Grabaspoon Sun 22-May-11 13:45:40

Haven't read the story but have read others before as people go into high alert and get used to driving from home to work for example and if he had to take his daughter to nursery on the way which he doesn't normally do - his brain just sweeps over that information and drives to work as usual.

Very sad though sad

Penthesileia Sun 22-May-11 13:51:54

This is the article. Its contents are extremely distressing, but it does describe how easily it happens.

Greythorne Sun 22-May-11 13:52:38

It's the Swiss cheese scenario; nobody just forgets their baby / toddler. But when lots of things all happen on the same day (different parent dropping off, different car, different routine, phone call on mobile, etc), these are like holes in slices of cheese. Stack them all up and one day, all the holes will sadly align and something dreadful and unexpected occurs.

Very moving piece in The Washington Post about this exact story a while back.


thisisyesterday Sun 22-May-11 14:09:39

awful isn't it?
i can imagin e how it can happen too tbh
i once left ds3 at ds2's nursery when i picked him up!
to be fair I remembered before we were out the end of the road, but if I'd been stressed or had my mind on other stuff I can imagine it would be easy to forget for a while

some of the stories you hear about seem to be in such public places an it worried me that people MUST have seen a crying/upset child in the car and done nothing? I realise that it's not necessarily the case in ALL situations... but in soem of them
do you think people are too scared to intervene and do something??

Curiousmama Sun 22-May-11 14:16:40

Am glad I read the article, think I was miss judgeypants tbh. Once I read that link it made me realise how easy it is. I suppose I've always been around looking after dss but if you're busy going out to work and rushing/stressed it could happen. sad

Curiousmama Sun 22-May-11 14:18:43

Talking of intervening, I was once outside Asda and saw a baby strapped in a car crying. I waited for the mother (I presumed?) to come out and told her what for. I was very hormonal at the time with a newborn but even so she'd been gone ages and just sauntered out.

edam Sun 22-May-11 14:19:20

Greythorne - I think you are right about the swiss cheese analogy. It's one used by people trying to improve quality in the health service - that bad things happen because all the holes line up. They try to design systems that deal with the fact that people are human, anticipate the holes and make sure they don't line up. So far not perfectly, but we can hope...

edam Sun 22-May-11 14:20:00

(I mean, you are right that it may well apply here.)

Passers-by may not have realised anything was wrong if the poor child didn't wake up.

thisisyesterday Sun 22-May-11 14:22:49

god i'm sobbing reading that link. horrendous sad

hidingbehindnewname Sun 22-May-11 14:39:43

greythorne that link is almost unendurable to read sad

There should be some sort of automatic alarm that sounds if there is a weight in the babyseat and someone locks it from the outside.

In my day, we were allowed carseats in the front so it was much harder to forget a baby left in the car....

Dontbugmemalone Sun 22-May-11 14:45:38

Have just heard this on the news. I'm crying just thinking how much suffering that poor girl must have gone through.
Being 'forgetful' means you forget to take nappies with you or something, I don't think that excuse is good enough in this case.

TheMonster Sun 22-May-11 14:48:08

He forgot to drop his child at daycare.
He left the child in the car, having forgotten his son was in the car.
It's tragic.

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