parents forgot baby in trolley

Parents forgot baby was still in supermarket trolley after going shopping

Sometimes there are unexpected surprises left in grocery carts. Receipts are usually abandoned, or maybe there’s a purse, wallet forgotten, or newly purchased item the previous shopper neglected to remove. All that is nothing compared to what this shopper in Lages, Brazil, found. There was a forgotten baby left in the cart.  

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Parents Forgot Baby in the Grocery Cart 

The shopper was shaken to find a four-year-old boy sitting by himself in the grocery cart’s baby seat. His parents were nowhere in sight. He and a few other locals contacted the police as well as the security guards at the supermarket.  

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One passerby videoed the situation, asking the little boy where his parents were, and he talks with others nearby.  

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Have they left you here?” he said to the baby. “I’ve called security… Where are your forgetful mother and father?” 

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Fortunately, by the time the police arrived, the parents had already returned to find their son. They told the authorities that after they left the supermarket, they loaded their groceries into the car but forgot the baby. They drove away without him but rushed back as soon as they realized he wasn’t there. [1] 

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Although the parents panicked, the forgotten baby remained calm throughout the experience. He smiled in the video one of the people took of him. The police officers didn’t press the matter, deciding that the parents have suffered enough from the debacle.  

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The store where it all took place, Fort Atacadista, downplayed the situation. In an official statement, they wrote, “In a few minutes, everything went back to normal and was resolved.” 

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It’s a happy ending to what could have been a wildly disastrous situation. [2] 

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The Danger of Forgotten Child Syndrome 

Parents forgetting their kids isn’t a novel concept. It’s not uncommon on busy days to forget to pick up a child from school or remember to take them to soccer practice. However, this phenomenon is predominantly featured in media when it results in tragedy. And that’s usually when people forget a baby in the backseat of a car. 

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About 50 children died from heatstroke in cars in 2019. These deaths are accidental and extremely tragic. It’s hard for some people to comprehend how an overall loving and attentive parent could forget their baby in the car. Mental health experts attribute the forgetfulness to what happens when there’s a shift in routine.  

We have kind of a brain autopilot system that allows us to go from point A to point B without thinking about it,” said Dr. David Diamond, a psychologist, and researcher. “It actually suppresses our awareness that the child is in the car.” 

He dismisses people who believe this autopilot is an excuse for irresponsible parents. “It has nothing to do with your love for the child; It is the power of the system to make you lose awareness of the child in the backseat of the car.” It’s more likely to occur when the parents are stressed, distracted, sleep-deprived, and on a change of schedule. 

This autopilot system is so powerful it could create false memories. “The assumption is if I’m at work, I must have dropped my child off at daycare, and that becomes a memory, and that’s why people can spend an entire day looking at a picture of their child, talking about their child and in fact telling people, ‘I need to leave work on time to be able to pick my child up at daycare.’” [3] 

Read: Dad Gained Fame For His Reaction to Holding His Rainbow Baby. Watch Him Catch His Son at Birth

Taking Measures to Remember Kids in the Backseat 

Wes and Dawn Peabody lost their two-year-old when the father left her in the car. Dawn usually drove her on Saturdays, but that week, there was a schedule change, causing Wes to forget she was there. The moment he remembered and saw her in the car will haunt the family for the rest of their lives. 

To prevent any more forgotten babies, the Peabody’s are petitioning for Congress to require car manufacturers to install a warning system. [4] 

Hyundai offers a similar feature as an option. It includes an alarm and a message on the dashboard to check the backseat. If the parent leaves the car, the horn will blare, and an alert will show up on the phone. Legislators are working on putting a bill to make alert systems like this standard in all cars. Until then, experts recommend parents make reminders for themselves, such as placing the child’s shoe on the dashboard or placing your purse or briefcase in the backseat next to him. 

We have to accept that this does happen as a result of human flaws. This is a part of being human. It’s not part of being a negligent parent,” Diamond said. “So, once we accept that possibility, we then have to take measures we do something to be sure that our child will not be forgotten in our car.” [5] 

For the forgetful parents in Brazil, a reminder to take their son out of the grocery cart might be helpful too! 

Keep Reading: ‘After 2 boys, I wanted to try for a girl – and ended up with quintuplets’

References

  1. “Parents forget baby in supermarket trolley after going shopping.” Kid Spot. Leesa Smith. January 15, 2021. 
  2. “Baby left in shopping trolley after parents drive home before they realise he is missing.” News.  Justin Lawrence.
  3. “How does a parent forget a child in a car? A neuroscientist explains.” WTSP. Courtney Robinson. July 29, 2019 
  4. “How can a parent forget their child in the car? A psychologist explains.” CBS. October 4, 2019. 
  5. “’Forgotten Baby Syndrome’: A Parent’s Nightmare of Hot Car Death.” ABC News. Nicole Pelletiere.July 14, 2016. 
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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