The phenomena of fatal distraction occurs where a parent or carer inadvertently leaves their child in their car due to short-term memory failure caused by extreme exhaustion, stress or a change in routine. This can possibly lead to severe injury or in extreme cases the death of a child.
Just recently the Coroners Court held an inquest into the death of a young child after being inadvertently left in the family car. As part of the inquest the Coroner recommended the Department of Education and Training (DET) develop a fatal distraction fact sheet for health professionals, including MCH Nurses, that addresses the physiology and cognitive neuroscience of the human memory specific to circumstances similar to this tragic death.
In response to this recommendation, DET has developed a fact sheet based on the evidence and advice of Associate Professor Matthew Mundy, a cognitive neuroscientist at the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University, who gave evidence at the inquest.