The Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, where the tragedy occurred.
The Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, where the tragedy occurred. Wikipedia

A 16-month-old baby has died when it was left in the back of the family car by one of its parents.

The infant was in the vehicle for several hours after the parent "went to work, forgetting to leave the baby in the usual childcare facility," said a Swiss prosecutor.

"It was not until the end of the working day when they went to pick up their child, that they realised the tragedy that had occurred," Marc Remy stated in an AFP report.

The tragedy occurred in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the west of Switzerland.

The identities of the baby and parents have not yet been revealed.

A criminal inquiry has been opened, but the prosecutor said they would not be releasing any further details of the case until further notice.

'Any of us could do that'

A child's body temperature increases three to five times more quickly than an adult's. There have been several cases recently where parents have forgotten their child is in the car with them.

It happens to parents who have a momentary lapse in memory, which psychologists say is possible if the child can't be seen or heard, and if the parent is distracted or tired.

"The sad truth is, any of us could do that," psychologist Dr. David Mitchell told CBN News.

The psychologist explained that our short-term memory only holds about seven items of information at a time.

"And if you can picture a glass, my short term memory is a glass. And I pour my seven items in there. And in order for me to add more, some have to come out." Mitchell explained.

On average, in the US, an estimated 20% of all children who perish in hot cars were on their way to childcare facilities. However, this year, that number has increased to 50%.

Adding to the problem, most childcare organisations do not make any inquiries when a child fails to show up in the morning. They simply assume the child is sick or on a family holiday, and the onus is on the parents to contact the facility to inform them otherwise.