Toddler accidentally died of hyperthermia while parents slept
It is a medical condition that happens when a person’s body temperature is greater than 37 degrees Celsius (quite similar to a fever). Basically, this happens when the body is making or absorbing more heat than it can release.
The summer heat is unkind to everyone, especially with the rising global temperatures. Even the best of us can sometimes find it hard to cope with the heat.
This story concerns not the summer heat at all, but it does deal with a related matter: the dangers of high temperatures to children.
“On Feb. 28, the Volmerts put their daughter to bed, just as they did every night,” said an ABC report. “The room temperature was set to 72 degrees, but somehow overnight, the heating system malfunctioned.”
Their daughter Sammie didn’t make any noise at all, said her mother Keri Volmerts. They always heard her when she cried.
They didn’t even discover the tragedy that had happened until the following morning, when her father went upstairs to check on her.
“As soon as I got to the top of the stairs, it was very warm — I mean, hot,” said Larry Volmert. “I ran to her room, opened her door, and found her passed away."
Despite his attempts to resuscitate Sammie, she died of hyperthermia — an elevated body temperature caused by external conditions.
“Infants and young children are much more susceptible to heat-related injury, in that they have a very large body surface area for their weight,” said Dr. Corwin Warmink, medical director for Cook Children's Emergency Department. “Their thermoregulation is much poorer than adults.”
The couple has since contacted a lawyer and are considering taking legal action against the manufacturer of their heater.
Now Keri is on a mission to warn other parents about such dangers, with her Facebook post having accrued more than 2 million views.
What is hyperthermia
According to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, it is a medical condition that happens when a person’s body temperature is greater than 37 degrees Celsius (quite similar to a fever) and occurs without a change in the body’s temperature set point.
Basically, this happens when the body is making or absorbing more heat than it can release.
Properly protecting yourself from the heat and possible hyperthermia is easy to do! When playing outside in hot weather:
- Take frequent breaks
- Drink plenty of water
- Wear cool clothing
- Find a cool shady place to rest
If spending time indoors during a heat wave, try to find an area with air conditioning or a fan. In cases of severe temperature elevation, take a cool bath or sponge with water.
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us!