Keri and Larry Volmert had no idea that when they put their 17-month-old daughter Sammie to sleep in her crib on February 28th, 2016, that it would be for the last time. The next morning, the parents made the tragic discovery that their baby had died in her sleep. However, the cause was not sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but a heater malfunction that the grieving parents are now adamant about creating awareness around.
The night before the Volmert’s devastating discovery, the two parents put their daughter to bed just like they had every other night. The nursery, which is heated and cooled by a separate HVAC system on the second floor, was set to a temperature of 72 degrees. However, an overnight heating system malfunction caused the nursery to exceed 100 degrees.
Keri was in the kitchen the next morning when her husband’s screams immediately signaled that something had gone terribly wrong. The parents tried desperately to resuscitate their daughter after finding her lifeless body, but it was too late. Sammie’s elevated body temperature caused her to die of hyperthermia, which is more likely in cases of children being left in a hot car rather than at home.
Thermoregulation is much poorer in infants and young children in comparison to adults, which caused Sammie to die in her sleep. “She did not make a noise at all,” Keri recalled. “We always heard her if she cried.” While the chances of this malfunction happening may seem slim, the Volmerts quickly discovered that their daughter’s cause of death wasn’t as unlikely as one might think.
Keri and Larry Volmert have been determined to share their story to warn other parents. “I want people who have two-story homes to realize the danger because we had never heard of this,” Keri stated. “If I would have read about one case like this, I would have had the temperature monitor.”
The Volmerts made a heartfelt Facebook post to create awareness of their daughter’s unexpected death only to find other parents reaching out to them who have also lost children due to hyperthermia in a home. Although experts say this occurrence is rare, Keri wants to encourage parents to invest in a baby monitor that’s equipped with a temperature sensor and alarm.
“I wish I had once read about this. There is a cheap temperature monitor I could have had If I had heard of even one instance where a child could die by a heater not turning off like it is supposed to,” the Volmerts wrote in their Facebook post. “We want others to hear Sammie’s story so that children can be protected and other families spared from the horrific grief we are forced to endure every day.”
If you found this story interesting, make sure to SHARE this post with all of your friends on Facebook. Click ‘NEXT POST’ for more stories like this!