Every year in Europe, nearly 20 young children die in a vehicle as a result of heat stroke. A tragedy caused by parental negligence. This disturbing phenomenon has a name: the forgotten baby syndrome. Discovery.
What is Forgotten Baby Syndrome?
With an outside temperature of 26°C, which is regularly the case in the summer, just ten minutes can be fatal for a young child locked in a vehicle. Moreover, even if the outside temperature is considered moderate, it can quickly rise above 40°C in a car in less than half an hour. According to a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Current Research “There can be up to 55% temperature rise within the first five minutes and up to 90% within 15 minutes, even with the car windows partially open”.
From that point on, hyperthermia seems inevitable because babies don’t not enough water supply to regulate their body temperature. But how can you forget your child in a vehicle? There is no real explanation, except that these tragedies today may be favored by… stress, overwork or lack of sleep (more and more common in our society).
What are the sanctions?
What about this unthinkable and yet so common negligence in criminal law? In theory, the death of a baby forgotten in a vehicle is subject to: ten years in prison. But in practice, the punishment is often lighter because the main defendant or defendants are guilty of manslaughter. In fact, in most cases the parents involved risk a suspended sentence.
How to avoid these tragedies?
Most of these dramas are avoidable because they are the result of parental (or other person in the vehicle) supervision. That’s why a petition was launched to fight forgotten baby syndrome. To date, 103,500 signatures have been collected out of the expected 150,000. Purpose of this mobilization? Ask to include in all new cars an alarm in the long-term presence of a living creature in a car and if the interior temperature exceeds a certain value. “This system would save many lives and would require virtually no cost to implement.”
There are others simple tricks so as not to “forget” your child in the vehicle, such as making memories, putting your personal belongings in the back seat, such as your handbag, your jacket, your keys, your badge… In short, all those small everyday necessities.
A disturbing and alarming phenomenon that can be avoided. To continue, discover this shocking campaign to raise awareness of shaken baby syndrome.