What is “forgotten child” syndrome?

A one-year-old child died in St. Nazaire on Monday, June 20, 2022, where his parents left him alone, when the temperature was about 28 degrees. In this case, scientists talk about “forgotten baby syndrome”, when it is an unintentional forgetfulness. We explain to you.

A tragedy in Saint-Nazaire. On Monday, June 20, a one-year-old child died in a car where his parents had left him alone, when the temperature was about 28 degrees. Her father forgot to drop her off at day care and went straight to work. Mom noticed this at the end of the day when she was going to day care to pick him up. Unfortunately it was too late for the baby when help arrived at the scene.

This is not the first such tragedy in France. For scientists, it’s “forgotten baby syndrome.” We explain to you.

Almost identical scenario

According to an Italian study published in 2020, “Forgetful child syndrome defines the occurrence of forgetting a child in a parked car”. In this case, we are talking about the unintentional forgetfulness of the person in charge of the child, not the child left voluntarily in the car. In France, the Consumer Safety Commission issued an opinion in 2009.

According to them, the syndrome is “Parents are almost always characterized by identical scenes who, on the way to work, forget to leave their child with his nurse or on the crche.” So the baby is discovered a few hours later, suffering from dehydration, hyperthermia or hypothermia, depending on the weather, BFMTV details. “Heat stroke” occurs so quickly because the heat control of young children does not adapt to extreme temperatures. They have less water in their body and less ability to sweat. When left in a vehicle, their body temperature can rise three to five times faster than that of an adult. There are details in the report of the commission.

Not the work of negligence

The Consumer Safety Commission identified 26 accidents involving children in a car between June 2007 and August 2009. In this case, 11 children expressed complete oblivion. These are often children under 3 years old. However, not to be forgotten “The main cause of the accident recorded by the commission”. “While this cannot be confirmed, parents are at the root of the accident in 80% of cases – as some commentators have been able to do – it is usually a question of maternal or paternal behavior. Similarly, a detailed analysis of fatal accidents shows that they are always multifaceted and occur as a result of a chain of situations that are also of concern to close teams and professionals who are generally responsible for the child. Commission details. “In most cases, it was not the work of indifferent or neglected parents.”David Diamond, a professor of psychology and an expert in neuroscience, said in a conversation.

According to this researcher, it is possible that this syndrome is related to habitual memory (routine) and potential memory (future tasks). “In the case of a child who has to be dropped off by his nanny or cr্রেche, forgetfulness affects potential memory.
“Thus, potential memories can be changed for a variety of reasons: changes in routine, changes in the child’s behavior (calm). Stress and fatigue factors can also play a role in this memory impairment,” adds the Consumer Safety Commission.

But what will be the level of punishment in France? There is no legal provision to allow a child to be left alone in a car. “Like other European countries, or the United States, French law has qualifications that allow such work to be done if it is harmful to a child, such as neglecting a minor, removing a parent’s legal obligation, endangering another’s life, assisting a person in danger. Voluntary abstinence, especially for health professionals, professional misconduct for child care workers, and nanny or manslaughter.The Viennese District Court thus considers, in a December 11, 2008 judgment, the death of a child forgotten in a car, the crime of manslaughter was well-established.
6, Details of the Commission.

What does caution mean?

But how to fight this syndrome? Communication campaigns have started in different countries. In 2019, a law was made mandatory in Italy Car seat with buzzer. When the driver leaves the car, an alarm is triggered to warn that the child is still on board. In Canada, it is advisable to keep your bag or laptop In the back of the car
ule. Thus, you are forced to open the back door to recover it.

Also make sure that day care has a call system to notify you of a possible absence. In France, the Waze app has even set up a child reminder when your car has reached its destination.

Waze screenshot of iPhone from France

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