For parents, tucking their children in for the night is a cherished ritual, etching in their memories the image of their little ones’ peacefully sleeping faces.
Yet, some parents bear the unimaginable burden of their child not waking up the following morning, a fate that tragically befell Carrie Hall Volmart. Her heartbreaking story serves as a solemn reminder of a hidden danger lurking in some homes.
On that fateful night, Carrie gently placed her 17-month-old baby girl, Sammy, in her crib, lovingly created to resemble a fairy tale haven. Sweet Sammy, after saying her goodnight to her daddy, settled into a deep slumber following a brief crying spell. Little did her parents know that this night would forever change their lives.
In a Facebook post, Carrie recounted the harrowing experience: “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 was in the kitchen preparing coffee when her husband’s anguished cry shattered the morning calm. She recalls her husband’s words: “Carrie, I knew something was terribly wrong.” She rushed to the top of the stairs as her husband ran down the upstairs hallway.
Their second-floor bedroom, as they would soon discover, had become a furnace. The heating system had malfunctioned while they slept, and the separate temperature control systems for the children’s rooms on the second floor and their bedroom on the first floor had operated independently. The couple’s daughter, Sammy, had been sleeping in an unbearable heat that none of them had been aware of.
The couple’s world crumbled when Larry, Carrie’s husband, discovered their baby daughter’s lifeless body. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed them. Their daughter, who had been full of life just hours earlier, had been taken away in the cruelest of circumstances. The danger that claimed Sammy’s life was hyperthermia, which poses a very real risk to small children, as their bodies cannot regulate temperature efficiently until they reach the age of three to five.
While their upstairs thermostat had been set at a seemingly safe 72 degrees, the heater had malfunctioned, and the room had transformed into a sauna. The temperature inside the room reached a staggering 99 degrees, which was as high as their thermostat could register—meaning it could have exceeded 100 degrees.
It was Sammy’s little brother, Jackson, who had been spared a similar fate, as he had been sleeping in the cooler downstairs room due to childhood fears of “monsters” under his bed.
Carrie, upon further research, learned that there have been other documented cases of hyperthermia in multi-story homes. She realized that this peril was not widely known or discussed, despite being a genuine threat to children.
She lamented the absence of information about this danger in her initial preparations for motherhood, as she had read extensively about the potential risks and hazards that could harm babies and toddlers. She hopes that by sharing her family’s heart-wrenching ordeal, she can raise awareness and prevent other parents from enduring similar tragedies.
The Volmart family continues to grieve the loss of their beloved daughter, and holidays are particularly poignant and painful moments. Yet, they are determined to keep Sammy’s memory alive. As Carrie expressed, “We miss her every second of the day.
There’s a very large hole in our family without her here.” Sammy’s memory will endure as a poignant reminder of the importance of vigilance and awareness when it comes to the safety of our precious little ones.
This story is a tribute to Sammy and a plea from her heartbroken family to all parents, so they don’t have to bear the same heart-wrenching experience.
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