The majority of cases happen … when the driver goes into autopilot

Kids in hot cars.

We almost never hear of this in Europe. It’s so incredibly sad, and needless.

I could see it being under the radar in a place with the UK’s climate… but over here, on the odd occasion when somebody does let their kid die or get found in the car, it’s evident there’s little tolerance in the community for that particular kind of brain-fade.

Yeah, it concerns me that the recent heatwave in the UK will see a spike in incidents.

You’re right, there is little tolerance for it, and i’m glad of that. But why does it keep happening? The trend does seem to be downwards.

Oops, now I read the article, the context is the US, despite the BBC URL…

Geez. That would suck pretty bad, if that guy’s falsely accused… just imagine, you accidentally kill your kid, and then you have to get accused of murder! Poo.

OTOH, that’d be a pretty crafty way to try getting away with it…

I’d say you can’t prevent brainfade. It’s like asking why we can’t cure cancer.

Doesn’t matter how important something is to remember, there is a possible point where you can become distracted enough to forget it.

It’d be pretty simple to equip the baby seats with a ‘leaving the baby in the car’ alarm and/or an SMS reminder after 10 minutes or something, these days.

I agree there’s a probable technical solution - as an example, my 9 year old VW (i.e. pre clever small tech) sounds an alarm if it senses a weight on the passenger seat and the seatbelt isn’t attached.

Thing is, you can’t have brain fade with lives. Particularly not vulnerable lives.

But you’re always going to get it in some subset of circumstances; people are highly fallible.

It’s one thing to keep your shit together when the heat is on, but quite another to pretend you can do it indefinitely, night and day.

The main reason I never became a parent is because of the ridiculous amount of responsibility I would feel, for a very long time. Fuck that.

I’d bet most parents don’t see it quite like me, though…

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Ha! I have two kids.

I’m pretty good at staying sharp, and pushed myself through those 3am crying sessions by focusing on what needed to happen to keep the kids happy and safe. Kind of like a disciplined application of Maslow’s hierarchy, working yourself up the pyramid.

Simple things like taking out the trash - telling myself “don’t be a knob, take the keys to the door with you - just in case”.

Nonetheless, kids have a way of endangering themselves, which is great for development, can be fearsome though. One of mine has so much fun, but forgets to pay attention to the realities of asphalt and wood, returns from school with bandaids aplenty.

But it’s the most vital of duties not to be forgetful with them. Scissors, knives, hot cars … all of it.

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I dunno; cutting yourself once works way better than being told a zillion times about knives. I found out just how careful you want to be with a soldering iron around age ten via a painful burn on the finger, and it was internalised far better than anything I could’ve been told.

To my mind, ensuring the kid’s survival is the easy bit, especially at this point in history… the hard part is honoring the fact you’ve created people, and generating good input for that brain to devour. I couldn’t consider it unless I was loaded and could home-school my kids; I felt sorely ripped off growing up. I had the inclination and capacity to be educated to become a possibly notable contributor to science, and had to watch my potential pissed away for me. My whole school life felt like detention.

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Agreed school is generally shite. But … unless you’re loaded … or willing to cut out from general society.

Actually, survival is something that needs to be cared for - they’ll run around with scissors for instance, and 1/100 will fall on them, etc. Then putting other kids into the mix is like a volatile chemical reaction.

Not something to panic over every second, but eyes open and management functions tuned in.

But as they grow, you can teach them to take care of themselves - bit of self-reliance. Starts off with buttering their own bread kind of thing, then expands to - if you feel like not being on the high swing anymore, call out and I’ll stop it - don’t just let go!

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Yeah, it’s pretty nuts when they’re real young… have fun with that :stuck_out_tongue:

I think one relevant difference between the U.S. and the U.K., in addition to the climate, is that especially once you have a family most people drive everywhere. You don’t see children walking most places. (I live in a major city with decent public transportation; that would be the exception.) If you’re used to a daily routine of get in the car, drive to school with your older children, drive to work, drive back to the school, drive to a fast-food restaurant for a snack, drive to soccer practice, drive to ballet, drive to the dry cleaners, drive back to the soccer field, drive to the grocery store, drive back to ballet, drive home…well, it’s not so surprising that over the course of 5 years you might either forget the sleeping babe facing backwards in the back seat or else be too damned tired to lift the whole contraption out one more time just to run in a store for “5 minutes”.

edited to add: thankfully, this is not and has never been the reality for my family. I would not function well under such a routine. And if Mama ain’t happy…


Fast forward a decade or so and it’s waiting up until then to make sure your teen makes it home: at that point, safe is all you care about!! Maslow works forwards and backwards simultaneously when it comes to parenting. :wink:

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Yeah, I kind of set a rule for myself that I’m never allowed be too tired!

We were talking about this at lunch the other day… My co-worker had forgot to pick-up his daughter from day care (about an hour late) – this went off on the tangent of kids getting left in cars. The case that I recall from a few years ago in L.A. involved the same thing as my co-worker forgetting his daughter: deviation from routine combined with some external distraction. If I remember correctly, I think that the wife usually took care of the kids in the morning, but she was out of town so dad was in charge of dropping the kids off at school and day care – he got a call from work early in the morning about some big issue, so his mind was a bit preoccupied – he dropped the kids off at school and forgot the baby in the car. The majority of the stories that I have read about seem to follow that pattern. I recall one where the guy’s car alarm went off three times and each time he looked out the window of his office and didn’t see anybody messing with his car, so he would just remotely shut it off.


So! Technical solution - in-car video monitoring!

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I’m still extremely paranoid about my boy’s safety, and he’s a five year old who really doesn’t let you forget he’s around (he’s physically incapable of remaining quiet for more than about 2 minutes unless he’s asleep).

When it’s a baby that dies, I can kinda see how it could happen. Most moms have to go back to work entirely too soon after our babies are born. And we’re massively sleep deprived as we return to the work force. Dads forgetting the baby is less understandable to me because it’s generally not dad that’s getting woken up 2-3 times a night. @chgoliz hits on one reason you don’t find this happening as much in the UK/EU, but honestly, the lack of proper paid maternity leave time has got to be the biggest factor in the US.


A motion detector mounted in the center of the ceiling might help, but would probably incredibly annoying (and probably wouldn’t work well with an infant in a rear-facing seat).
I supposed that individual families establishing something like always putting the diaper bag in the front seat or other semi-foolproof reminder is the most practical way to mitigate the chance, but since nobody thinks that they would ever forget I doubt that many people have such a practice.


It used to scare the shit out of me (seriously, really) because I AM that absent-minded. Like, it fucks up my life absent-minded. Thankfully, I never did.


Shows you what it takes to have happy, healthy kids! No wonder my parents used to say “You’re so bloody lucky to be alive!” - they meant it!


A ‘remember you have a baby’ tattoo could be a pretty useful tool to the sleep-deprived, lemme tellya.