Last year, 43 children died of heatstroke after being left in a car.

Do you think you could ever forget your kid in the car?

During a routine drive, your brain operates on autopilot.

It’s this part of the brain that gets you home from work without concentrating on the drive.

But what happens when there’s a change in routine? The proactive part of your brain, your prospective memory system, needs to kick in to override your routine.

Throw in a dose of exhaustion.

Add some stress.

A sleeping baby tucked away out of sight in the back seat.

This combination triggers your brain’s autopilot to take control, stifling the prospective memory system.
Without an active reminder, you can easily fall right into your usual routine. And if that routine doesn’t involve baby, that combination can be fatal.

So much was
different that morning

Lyn was dropping her husband off on the way to work. He usually took Bryce, now strapped in directly behind Lyn, instead of the more visible passenger side. His diaper bag was in the back instead of on the seat beside her. Bryce himself, usually talkative, was lethargic due to a cold. Lyn was sleep deprived and distracted by an urgent work issue.

After stopping at her husband’s office, Lyn continued the drive to work as usual, driving right past the turn for Bryce’s daycare with no recollection of him in the car.

Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology with an emphasis on neurobiology of memory, has done extensive research on the phenomenon of babies forgotten in cars. His conclusion? Any person is capable of forgetting a child.

One simple precaution can save your child's life.

I will leave my phone, shoe or purse in the backseat with my baby.

Make sure the item you routinely leave in the back is one you would definitely notice missing as soon as you head away from the car.


I will ask my child-care provider to call me anytime my baby is not dropped off as usual.

Having a daycare check-in policy is one of the easiest systems you can set in place to protect your child.


I will get in the habit of checking the backseat every time I get out of the car.

Look before you lock. Make it a regular habit and it can go from a catchphrase to a lifesaver.


I will download an app to alert me every time I get out of the car.

An app like the Kars4Kids Safety App harnesses technology to back up our vulnerable human minds.