Mum of toddler who died after he was unintentionally left in the car had felt like she needed help for her fatigue but couldn’t ask for it.

Noah Zunde was found in the back seat of the family car outside a childcare centre at Kyneton, northwest of Melbourne, on February 19, 2015. His body temperature was 40.6C.

Romy Zunde was so sleep-deprived she thought she had dropped her toddler at childcare.

The 22-month-old boy had been inside the car for seven hours when his mother discovered he was not in the centre, where she believed she had dropped him off, reports Daily Mail.

An inquest has been told the day before his death, his mother felt she ‘needed help’ for fatigue but couldn’t ask for it. On the day he died, she felt ‘wiped out’.

“I was totally exhausted,” she later told police.

“I was so confused. I had a clear memory of dropping him off. I think my memory was thinking of the day before,” reports 7 news.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Jodie Burns, said Noah’s death met the definition of a homicide but the coroner could not be convinced an indictable offence had been committed, due to circumstances surrounding the death.

Noah’s death is one of two cases being investigated by the state coroner in which a young child died after being unintentionally left in cars.

The inquest is looking at possible physiological reasons behind someone inadvertently leaving a child in a car.

Judge Sara Hinchey will also look at opportunities to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

Monash University associate professor in psychology Matthew Mundy is also giving evidence.

He says evidence suggests Noah’s mother was severely sleep deprived and affected by other factors, which contributed to a memory failure sometimes referred to as ‘forgotten baby syndrome’.

Forgotten baby syndrome

Associate Professor of Psychology Matthew Mundy told the hearing he believed it was the result of a catastrophic memory lapse, reports ABC news.

“If you are capable of forgetting to post a letter, you are capable of forgetting to take your baby out of the car,” he said.

“When you forget something simple like forgetting to post a letter … you assume that that’s a simple failure of short term memory, and it absolutely is.

“Your memory is limited, it’s limited in the number of things you can remember at any given time and it’s limited in the amount of time you can remember a thing for.

“At a neural level, your brain is not discriminating between a letter, your mobile phone or forgetting to retrieve your child from the back of the car.

“Consciously we know that child is way more important than a letter or your mobile phone, but your brain cells … are not making that discrimination for you.”

Sleep deprivation is the hardest thing to struggle through as a parent. I am sure this mother will never forgive herself for her actions.

Share your comments below.

Image via Daily Mail

  • i could never forget! poor kid! no words!


  • It sounds like she was so sleep deprived that if she had driven much further she would probably have fallen asleep at the wheel. I’m surprised the Childcare Centre didn’t call her to ask where her son was. I know one Mum who didn’t call them early because She was trying to get through to the Medical Centre first.


  • How tragic is this !
    Sleep deprivation can sure cause serious and dangerous situations I think. It’s even possible that given enough time, sleep deprivation can kill you. While no human being is known to have died from staying awake, animal research strongly suggests it could happen.


  • so sad and I hope people who are suffering from sleep deprivation get help to avoid any more deaths.


  • I simply cannot fathom being do exhausted you forget your children and leave them in dangerous life threatening situations


  • Absolutely heart breaking. It really does take a village and its nearly impossible without one.


  • I saw this on television,a very sad story for every-one involved.


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