Forgotten Baby Syndrome Case Being Probed

March 22, 2017
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Judge Sara Hinchey is probing the case of a Mom who thought she had dropped off her 22-month-old son at daycare, and left him in the car for 7 hours.

The inquest, which starts this week, will look at possible physiological reasons as to why someone would inadvertently leave a child in a car – being known as “forgotten baby syndrome”

Noah Zunde was found dead in the back seat of his family’s car outside a childcare center in Kyneton in February 2015.

The baby had been inside the car for seven hours and was found when his mother discovered he was not in the center, where she believed she had dropped him off.

The inquest will also look at ways to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

According to coronial records, at least 5 children have died in Victoria after being left in motor vehicles in the past decade.

Monash University associate professor in psychology, Matthew Mundy, will be a witness called to give evidence in the case. The professor has provided the coroner with two expert reports about the potential role which physiology and cognitive neuroscience of the human memory system may have played in the lead-up to children being unintentionally left in cars.

Dr. Mundy says that evidence suggests Noah’s Mom was severely sleep deprived and was also affected by other factors, which contributed to a memory failure sometimes referred to as “forgotten baby syndrome”. 

 Noah’s Mom arrived at the childcare center to pick up her baby and was confused he was not there, his report says.

A childcare worker said: “I am 100 per cent sure she believed she had dropped him off that morning.”

Dr. Mundy said that the belief she had dropped off her son appears to be a case of false memory whereby an older long-term memory of a previous daycare drop-off had “filled in the blank”.



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