Child hot-car fatalities can happen to anyone, anywhere and from any socioeconomic class, and they have – even with loving and attentive parents and caregivers.
Nearly all the stories follow the same story line: a loving parent tasked with dropping off their child is either learning a new routine or has broken their existing routine to perform the drop-off. One minute they’re a happy mom or dad headed to school or daycare then, in the next minute, they enter autopilot and their old routine kicks in. There’s a ton of research-backed science on how and why our brains do this but essentially it boils down to the fact that we are sequential thinkers, not multi-taskers as many like to believe. What happens in all of these stories is the parent’s old routine takes over and they simply follow it. They go to work or wherever they usually go, do their thing and believe they dropped off their child as intended. But when realization sets in due to a call from the school, spouse or horribly by their own discovery of their child in their car, invariably these parent search their memories not understanding how this happened.
Story after story they report a sort of blank spot. They can see themselves having dropped their child off, but can’t remember actually doing it. They were on autopilot like it was just any other day doing their normal routine.