As the weather starts warming and summer approaches, forgotten baby syndrome is becoming a hot topic. The news stories, cases and discussions surrounding this phenomenon of the warmer months, inspires much controversy and negativity. The most popular response is complete denial of the possibility that it can happen to you. This dismissive attitude is potentially the most dangerous reaction as simply continuing to function on autopilot is the cause of forgotten baby syndrome.
The thought of a child being left alone in a car is devastating. However there is scientific reasoning behind this terrible phenomena that causes the death of approximately 50 children per year in the United States. We get entrenched in routine, driving on autopilot, relying on muscle and motor memory to free up our brain to focus on planning and other thoughts. The habit memory system takes control in many situations. This explains why we sometimes take the turn to work instead of the store when driving, or walk into a room with no idea why you are there. Routes or actions that are repeated frequently become automatic, and unfortunately this can cause one to unconsciously forget their infant in the car. Driving with a silent, sleeping baby in the back can leave you vulnerable to following a pre-baby habitualized routine.
There are a few methods to keep you hyper cautious and prevent even the slightest chance of forgotten baby syndrome happening to you. Place the diaper bag in the passenger seat next to you so you have a visual cue that your child is in the back seat or create the habit of placing your personal belongings in the back seat even when your baby is not in the car so checking the back becomes muscle memory. Another option is the Elepho eClip which is an all inclusive device to keep your child safe in the car. The eClip connects to its own phone app and will notify you if you move more than 25 feet from the car while the baby is still inside. As an added benefit eClip can gauge the temperature in the car and will notify you if the temperature is too high or low for the baby through the eClip app. As babies are not yet capable of body temperature regulation, controlling the temperature around them in the car is vital at all times so they do not overheat and dehydrate or get too cold.
While taking these precautions sounds over the top, it is always better to make use of every available tool to prevent avoidable tragedies.