Forgotten Baby Syndrome Can Happen To Anyone

July 16, 2018

Dreamstime

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that on average a child dies from vehicular heatstroke every 10 days. While it is difficult for us to understand how a parent could leave their child in a hot car, according to an expert in cognitive neuroscience, it is more common than you'd think. It can happen to anyone and so common, it has a name, forgotten baby syndrome.  While we're quick to judge that only bad or negligent parents forget kids in cars, it is a memory problem that is further complicated with the stresses parents face in everyday life. Making matters worse is those who think that something like this could never happen to them or someone in their family. It's because we get into auto-pilot mode with regular tasks (like grocery shopping). The greatest risk of forgotten baby syndrome occurring is when there is change in a routine but it can happen at higher times of stress, sickness or lack of sleep. But you can prevent this memory lapse by setting up safeguards.  First, you must understand that human memory is faulty and that these memory failures can happen to anyone. The key to avoid such incidents is for them to use strategies aimed at overcoming memory lapses. Create visual reminders. Place the child’s diaper bag, jacket, or hat in the front passenger seat. Force yourself to go to the backseat. Keep your backpack, lunch box, or briefcase there every day. Set reminders on your phone to check with your spouse or partner to make sure he or she has dropped off the child. You can also invest in a car seat or vehicle with integrated reminder technology, such as the Evenflo SensorSafe, which uses a sensor in the chest clip of the seat with a wireless receiver that connects to your car and alert you with an audio chime when turning off the car or if your child unclips their seat belt. Concerned parents can contact federal lawmakers at congress.gov to urge them to support the bill known as the HOT CARS Act. The bill would require cars to come equipped with technology that alerts drivers if a child is left in the backseat after the ignition is turned off.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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