Mom’s alarming photo of sleeping toddler warns parents of indoor heatstroke
Mom’s alarming photo of sleeping toddler warns parents of indoor heatstroke:- A Canadian mother is hoping to bring awareness to the dangers of indoor heatstroke, which she said could have taken the life of her 3-year-old daughter.
Jenn Abma of Edmonton, Alberta, told ABC News that she went upstairs to wake her toddler, Anastasia, from her hour-long nap on July 13. Abma said Anastasia was overheating in her bedroom and would not wake up.
“I had a gut feeling something was wrong,” Abma recalled. “I went upstairs and it was extremely hot. It was like a sauna in there. The curtains were closed and the windows were open and she was in the direction of the direct sun. Being that hot outside, even with the window open, it’s not circulation — it’s just heat.”
Abma, a mother of two, dialed 911 and EMS immediately arrived, she said. Anastasia’s blood glucose level read below average, so first responders administered glucose liquid to raise the sugar in her body, according to Abma. Her body temperature reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit before EMS were able to cool the child down and she awoke minutes later, Abma said.
According to Accuweather.com, the temperature in Edmonton was at a high of 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit on July 13, the day Anastasia was affected by heatstroke.
Abma said she does not have an air conditioning unit in her home, but noted that it had never been an issue until now.
“This is her first summer in the house and I was unaware that bedroom got hotter than the rest,” she added.
The EMS of Alberta Health Services responded to Abma’s call, she said. “Alberta Health Services EMS did respond to a call for Anastasia,” a spokeswoman told ABC News.
Moments after EMS had answered Abma’s emergency call, Abma said she snapped a photo of her daughter in the middle the ordeal.
“They [EMS] said, ‘You should probably share this with your family and friends,’ so they were there when I took the photo,” Abma said.
The next day, Abma shared the image on Instagram to raise parents’ awareness of heatstroke dangers.
“No it is not my fault this happened to her but it is hard not to blame yourself, this is a lesson learnt [sic] & hopefully other parents can take something from this & make sure you are checking the rooms in your house because thy [sic] can be as dangerous as a hot car,” Abma wrote on July 14. “Still I’m shook and I can’t imagine what would have happened if I didn’t go check on her.”
Abma said she has received mixed responses on the post about her daughter. She also said that she invested in an oscillating fan and heat-resistant curtains since the incident.
“People are [saying], ‘How are you so stupid that you didn’t know the bedroom was that hot?'” Abma said. “For every nasty comment, there’s something positive though. It has done a lot of good and I am glad that I shared it, despite the rude things that have been said. It is that hot and it’s going to be again. You hear about kids in hot cars dying daily, but to think this could happen in a bedroom … I can’t have someone else lose their baby and that’s why I shared [Anastasia’s] story.”
Dr. Venkatesh Bellamkonda, emergency medicine specialist of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said indoor heatstroke is possible depending on the conditions.
“Heatstroke is about being in a room or environment where the body temperature is forced to rise unnaturally,” Bellamkonda told ABC News. “It can be in a boiler room, in a greenhouse, it can be in front of the sun. Heatstroke might be something other than the person’s own body causing that temperature [to rise].”
Bellamkonda said there are three different levels of heatstroke. The first is heat stress, where the body becomes uncomfortably warm. The second is heat exhaustion, where the body temperature rises above 100 degrees, water levels are decreased and the person begins to feel dehydrated and fatigued. And the final stage, the most dangerous, is when the body temperature rises to 104 degrees or above.
“Organs start to be impaired where the brain doesn’t think the way it normally would or the person won’t wake up,” Bellamkonda explained. “In general if the body is so overwhelmingly hot, I suspect that the brain as a protective measure tries to keep active measures limited — to slow us down.”
“Children who do not have as much reserve or volume to them, heat up very fast because of their smaller size,” he said.
Bellamkonda offered the following tips to prevent and treat someone experiencing heatstroke both indoors and outdoors:
Avoid spending excessive amounts of time in overwhelmingly hot environments.
Recognize those who are most vulnerable (people on diuretic medication, children).
For adults — avoid caffeine and alcohol while in the heat.
If someone is suffering from heatstroke, give them cold water.
Soak the person’s clothes in cold water, put it back on them and blow a fan on them. Ice packs under the arms and legs are fast and effective as well.
Contact ambulance or fire rescue if someone is not acting right.