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Fatal Distractions

When Forgotten Babies Die in the Backseat of a Car

The temperature inside of a closed vehicle is 30 to 40 degrees higher than the outside air. Children can die quickly under these conditions. While most people do not understand how this could happen, these tragedies are increasing and impacting families from all walks of life.


It is important to know how these tragedies can occur. The brain has several memory “settings” that operate on auto pilot when a person is going through the regular routine of their day. When a parent’s routine is disrupted or their attention span is interrupted, the protective memory system that remembers their child is in the car can fail and lead to tragic results. This can happen to anyone.


Key factors that affect the memory system include high stress events, sleep deprivation and distractions such as cell phone conversations and traffic. While some of these may not be avoidable, it is a good idea to have strategies that will help you remember when your child is in his car seat at all times.


The best suggestion for remembering your child is to put an essential item in the backseat with your child in or next to their car seat so you must reach back into the car when you make it to your destination. This way, if the child has been forgotten, you will see him before anything bad happens. Items to place next to your child include a shoe, keys, purse, briefcase or any other necessity that you would need. Also, it is a good idea to remain focused on your morning tasks at hand and to avoid distracting behaviors such as cell phone use until your routine is complete.


Please help spread these messages and keep our babies safe.

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