Heartbreaking details have emerged in the Coroner’s Court of Victoria about a toddler who died in a hot car after his mother believed she had dropped him at daycare in the morning.

ABC reports that the mother, Romy Zunde, discovered that her 22-month-old son was dead just a few minutes after she arrived at the childcare centre to pick him up.

At first, Zunde was confused that he wasn’t there, thinking that she had perhaps dropped him at a different daycare centre. 

When she opened the back door of her car, she found him inside and cradled him until paramedics arrived.

His body temperature was 40.6 degrees, the Coroner heard.

The Age reports Zunde was ‘severely sleep deprived’, and there were a number of events that led up to Noah’s death and contributed to Zunde’s memory failing.

A medical report given to the Court stated that she falsely believed she had dropped him off at childcare in the morning, then returned home to do some chores. Then she returned to the childcare centre in the afternoon to collect him and found him in the car, not realising he had been there the whole time.

Ms Zunde had been suffering from probable gastroenteritis in the week leading up to Noah’s death, and had been feeling nauseous and had been vomiting, leading to a lack of sleep. She was also suffering from stress related to their dogs attacking their pet pigs at home.

The morning of the incident, she was sleep deprived and had to drop off a misplaced myki card to her partner. She was ‘considerably distressed’ by the change to her schedule, and after that she dropped her daughter off at school. 

Instead of dropping Noah off at daycare, she went home to do some chores. 

Neuroscientist Matthew Mundy suggested some reasons why her memory would have been affected by the events that day in the medical report. He mentioned that Noah’s baby seat was not visible from the driver’s seat.

“Without a visual cue to the presence of Noah, it is less likely that Romy Zunde would have been reminded of his presence after a failure in short-term memory of driving home instead of to Bambini daycare,” the report said.

“Noah must have fallen asleep on the way … he was probably asleep in the car which is something he hardly ever did,” Ms Zunde told police in an interview.

“This seems important, since he would normally be making some kind of noise during the journey. Again, these observations would also suggest a lack of external ‘cues’ to prompt the maintenance of Romy’s short-term memory”. 

The report also mentioned that sleep is important for memory consolidation, so the fact that she’d been so sleep deprived would have negatively impacted her memory. Professor Mundy suggested that she was suffering from ‘forgotten baby syndrome’.

The Herald Sun reports Ms Zunde’s partner Andrew Krespanis announced the death of their son on Twitter.

“We lost our beautiful son today,” He wrote.

“I love him more every day. Forever. I’ll always know I cherished every day. Every laugh, every adventure, every cuddle.

“Hug your children. Hug them and never let them go.”

Noah is one of five children who have died in the past 10 years from being left in hot cars in Australia.