What Is Forgotten Baby Syndrome?

Annelise Lords

Do you think you can leave your helpless one-year-old child in a car for eight hours and forget about her/he? Science says every one of us can!

A child asleep in the back seat of a car.Dreamstime

When do a parent’s paternal instincts kick in?

A beautiful 18-month-old child was locked in her father’s car from nine AM to five PM. He was a police officer. His daughter was locked in his car at the precinct where he worked. He stayed at work for eight hours. He ate lunch, used the restroom, and did his job while conversing with his co-workers. He must have talked to his wife, the mother of his child, throughout the day. She is a police officer too. Parents talk about their children.

He had a typical day.

How could he forget that his child was in his car outside at the police station?

How powerful are our instincts as parents regarding our children?

Do you think you could forget your child in a car at ninety degrees temperature? Or any temperature?

I feel all of my children’s pain, even though they are adults. My thoughts are always with them and on them. I was one of those over-protective mothers who was always there for them. One parent is always available. I was MIA from my oldest daughter’s life for almost two years, but it was necessary. After that, one parent is always available 100% of the time and both parents 90% of the time. Proper provisions to protect them in that 10% window are in place. My instincts are alive, and it increases with my children.

According to https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20220120/infant-dies-after-being-locked-car-hours

Sergeant Sheldon Dobson was not accustomed to taking his one-year-old daughter to daycare, and a change of routine on Monday is said to have resulted in the death of the toddler, who was reportedly left locked inside his car for eight hours as he went to work.

When does parenting instinct kick in? In his case, it would be his paternal instincts. What was going on in his brain? Ninety degrees temperature is average for Jamaica. I feel the heat sometimes deep under my skin.

https://www.coparents.com/blog/is-there-such-a-thing-as-paternal-instinct/ says: It’s true that, unlike women, men can’t feel their baby growing inside them or enjoy the bonding experience of breastfeeding. However, it doesn’t prevent them from feeling the powerful need to protect and nurture their kids. Sometimes the connection can emerge after a year or so. A large number of men feel this undeniable bond.

What did this father feel?


Children die in Jamaica in a variety of ways, but in my many decades in working as a child advocate, I have never heard of an incident like this one. Sometimes you hear these things happening in other countries, but I have never heard of a case like this one happening in Jamaica,” she said. “Police officers are trained to be sharp, to be alert, and to be very thorough, and so the question is how did he forget his child in the car for an entire day.

Millions of people are asking this question. His training and his paternal instinct should be at the front. His responsibilities to his child should have gone beyond that. At the end of the day, if you lose your job, you still have your family.


If parents think they would never forget their child in a hot car, they should think again. It can happen to anyone.

Our brain can be a weapon against us. Or a tool that helps us. For this eighteen-month-old child, her father’s brain wasn’t a tool. As a police officer, his training is to be aware and alert of danger. He was born and raised in a violent country. From January 1–24, 2022, 112 Jamaicans were murdered. The murder rate is climbing rapidly here. His job demands he be mindful and observant. His instincts must also be on high alert.


Amid an average of five killings being committed per day in 2022. Some 1,463 persons were killed in 2021, and the wave is ongoing into the New Year, leaving many families drowning in grief.

This incident was a first for my country. If charged, he will have a hard time convincing a jury of his innocence. Yes, ‘IF.’

Says https://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/anyone-could-forget-kids-in-hot-car-forgotten-baby-syndrome-a3901940661/

Since 1998, almost 900 children have died in hot cars and more than half of them were left behind unknowingly by their caregiver, according to NoHeatStroke.org.

Jamaican’s have a hard time swallowing this one in their own country. Other countries, yes. Here, no. It’s unimaginable that one of our own would be so cruel. The fact that he was trained to be mindful increases our rage. We see his action as cruelty to the highest degree in my culture.

A leading expert in cognitive neuroscience who has studied the role of memory in such tragedies has found that the stresses parents face in everyday life can make these memory lapses more likely.

But can our paternal instincts override the stress we are going through daily? Shouldn’t our children be first? Isn’t that a powerful emotion that comes from deeper within us?

“Sorry, lady,” a voice inside of me reminds. “But it’s the brain that is in charge, not the memory, instincts, the love for his children or his training.”

Forgetting a child is not a negligence problem but a memory problem, says David Diamond, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

I have a problem digesting this.

“As a female, you would,” my brain reminds. “Females have a closer bond with their children than males.”

“That sounds like an excuse,” my instincts fought back.

“The most common response is that only bad or negligent parents forget kids in cars,” Diamond says. “It’s a matter of circumstances. It can happen to everyone.”

Can it? Do you think you can leave your helpless one-year-old child in a car for eight hours and forget about her?

Our brain is a complex machine. I am close friends with mine. It’s our Central Processing Unit. It commands every human action, choice, and decision. Humans think they are in charge. It’s our brains, that is. As I age, I fight with my memory daily. I am accused of putting my feelings into everything. I don’t see how I could forget my child in a locked car, house, or anywhere. My emotion is in all of my actions, choices, and decisions. It aids in me doing the right thing.

How well do you know your brain?

When do a parent’s paternal instincts kick in?

Sorry I have to be asking this question again. I feel the mother’s pain. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. The child’s age will increase her agony. How her child died triples and quadruples the torture and guilt, she must live with for the rest of her life. That isn’t a small task even for the strongest among us who are mentally, psychologically, and emotionally able to handle all of what life throws at them. Living with the one responsible for her child’s demise is painful.

How well do you know your brain?

Thank you for reading this piece. I hope you enjoy it.

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I don't limit myself, because I learn from the actions, choices, decisions, and life of everyone I know. I study and learn from all of my life's circumstances and situations, and also yours. My power of words is about life, awareness, the value, and the simplicity of commonsense, especially when it's not used. Life lessons are in everything we do. I will show them to you.

Poughkeepsie, NY

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