Lyn Balfour and Stephanie Salvilla have quite a bit in common.
They are both intelligent women. They are devoted mothers. They both made the fatal mistake of accidentally leaving their baby boys in their cars while they were at work.
And, due to a cruel trick of the brain, they both have false memories of dropping their children at day care on the respective mornings their sons died.
Lyn – a US army reservist who served twice in Iraq – left her nine-month-old son, Bryce, in the car for seven hours while she was at work in March 2004.
She went about her day, looking at pictures of her son, talking about her baby and planning to pick him up from day care. It wasn’t until she went to leave that she saw him in the backseat.
“I was hoping that it wasn’t too late so I started screaming for someone to call 911 and I took him out of the car and I began CPR,” Lyn told Seven’s Sunday Night.
“I prayed and I prayed to God to take me instead, to please, please not take him and after about another ten minutes another doctor came in and she told me that they couldn’t save him, that he was gone.
“And I sat there and said to myself, ‘How am I going to tell my husband that I killed his son?’
“If you would have asked me or given me a lie detector test, even today, I would tell you that he was at the day care provider’s house and that he was okay and that he was fine,” she said.
It’s a scenario eerily similar to that which caused baby Gannon’s death in July 2009.
Stephanie Salvilla was also convinced she had dropped the five-month-old at day care before continuing to work.
“I know now what really happened, but still to this day it’s the only memory I have,” she told Sunday Night.
Instead, her son sat in a car in the Florida sun for eight hours.
It doesn’t take long for a car in the sun to heat up. Seventy five per cent of the temperature rise occurs within five minutes of closing the car and ninety percent occurs within 15 minutes.
The temperature inside a car can be 30 degrees warmer than that outside and babies are particularly vulnerable, heating up at a rate three to five times faster than adults.
See what happens when the Sunday Night reporter sits inside a hot car in the sun: