Keri Hall Volmert is a mother of two and when she put her 17-month-old daughter to bed one night on February 28, nothing in the world could have prepared her for her baby girl’s sudden death. Sammie Joyce was just 17 months old when she died of hyperthermia in her bedroom. This is one of the dangers of sleeping on separate floors from your kids.
When Keri heard the ‘desperation and screeching panic’ in her husband’s voice the next morning she knew something was wrong.
After failed attempts at resuscitating Sammie at the emergency room, the young girl was pronounced dead.
Keri shared her tragic story on Facebook. ‘I changed my precious baby into her tiny nightgown, wiped her snotty little nose, walked through the living room with her in my arms as she proudly said “night night” to her Daddy and big brother.’
She said that when she placed her in her crib that she cried ‘a little bit’ but she fully expected her to be asleep within two minutes ‘as she always has.’
‘The desperation and screeching panic in my husband’s voice the next morning as he went to retrieve her from upstairs is something I will never forget.’
She went on to say that she saw her husband run down the upstairs hallway and say to her ‘I think Sammie is dead.’
She said that the heater upstairs was set to 72 degrees but due to a malfunction it got as high as 99 degrees and their baby girl died from hyperthermia.
She and her husband were sleeping downstairs so they were unaware that the upstairs temperature had reached such dangerous levels.
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 do not have the ability to regulate their own body temperatures like that of older children and adults.
‘The temperature registered 99 degrees on our thermostat which was as high as it could go (meaning it was over 100 degrees.) Sammie died of hyperthermia. Doctors believe she never woke up or made a sound since children (until age 3 to 5) cannot regulate their own body temperature as older children and adults are able to do.’
She said that their older son, Jackson, had been sleeping with them downstairs his whole life and doctors said that had he slept upstairs he probably would have died as well.
‘Our son, Jackson, is three years old and had been sleeping in our bedroom downstairs for a year because he claimed monsters were in his room! Doctors said he would have likely died if he had been in his room.’
She continued: ‘we want others(especially those with two-story homes) to hear Sammie’s story so that children can be protected and other families spared from the horrific grief we are forced to endure each day.’
The family’s hope now is to raise awareness for parents and other families about the dangers of sleeping on different levels as your children. Parents who are forced to sleep on different floors as their newborn infants can invest in a temperature-monitoring baby monitor that can track the temperature and detect potential heat risks.