June 26th, 2014
10:41 PM ET

The tragic danger of creating a "false memory"

Amidst the aftermath of a 22-month-old boy dying as a result of being left inside a car on a sweltering Georgia day, on Thursday evening Anderson Cooper welcomed a pair of guests uniquely qualified to share insight on the harrowing story.

A busy working mother, Lyn Balfour inadvertently left her son in a car after creating a "false memory" of bringing him to daycare. When her childcare provider alerted her to the tragic accident, it was too late:

"Finally, after the third time, she's trying to explain to me, she said 'No Lyn, you didn't drop him off.'"

Now an advocate for those dealing with the very tragedy that still haunts her, Balfour points parents to the child safety group kidsandcars.org.

Meanwhile, as the man who penned The Washington Post's award-winning article "Fatal Distraction," Gene Weingarten's research has taught him that such tragedies are more a result of something mental, and tied less to anything emotional:

"This turns out to be a failure of memory, not of love, not of bad parenting," he told Cooper. "It's something that happens under a certain set of circumstances, they tend to be the same."

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
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