Summer is all fun and games until the sweltering heat starts to put your health in danger. On days where the heat becomes unbearable, many people choose to hide from the sun and stay indoors, but this doesn't always mean you're safe.
Jennifer Abma, a single mother of two learned the scary way that even the place her kids were supposed to feel most safe could be dangerous once the temperatures soar.
Sometime in mid-july the temperatures in Edmonton, Canada surpassed the 90 degree mark so Abma thought it would be best for her daughters, 1-year-old Ariel and 3-year-old Anastasia, to remain in the house. After all, experts warn that a heat index of 90 or above poses "a significant health risk" for young children.
After a few hours of playing, Anastasia was ready for an afternoon nap, but everything took a turn when Abma went upstairs to check on her daughter and she wouldn't wake up.
Click on the next page to find out what happened and why Abma is sending out a warning to other parents.
"I had a gut feeling something was wrong," Abma told ABC News. "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."
Anastasia was unresponsive when her mother tried to wake her up so Abma immediately dialed 911.
The first responders noted that Anastasia's blood glucose level was extremely low and her body temperature reached 104 degrees, both of which are signs of a heatstroke. It took about 20 minutes to revive the little girl.
"She got really, really lucky. She was probably minutes away from permanent damage," Abma told TODAY. The mom wasn't exaggerating when she said that because untreated heatstroke can "damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles" and even death.
Since temperatures in Edmonton don't usually soar above 77 degrees, Abma said the house does not have an air conditioner and there has never been any problems until now. "This is her first summer in the house and I was unaware that bedroom got hotter than the rest," she added.
Thankfully Anastasia has fully recovered and Abma is now using her story as a cautionary tale for other parents. She posted the ordeal on her Instagram page to raise awareness of the dangers of heatstroke.
"THIS was my evening, this was the scariest moment I've had to imagine," Abma wrote in the post the day after the incident. "THIS is severe heatstroke. There is nothing scarier than not being able to wake your baby up. THIS is clear proof a child doesn't need to be in the sun to get heatstroke."
"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 added. "Still I'm shook and I can't imagine what would have happened if I didn't go check on her."
Abma has since purchased an oscillating fan to help cool the room down when temperatures the rise up. "I would recommend this to all parents during the summer months," Abma told Good Housekeeping. "If your child is tired out of the ordinary, be aware. Check the rooms in your house "” they are not all the same temperature."
Always look out for symptoms of heatstroke which include high body temperature, change in behaviours, nausea, vomiting, headache and rapid breathing according to the Mayo Clinic. If you notice these signs in a person, cool them down immediately with cold water, blow a fan on them and call 911.
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