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Indoor Heat Stroke Is a Thing You Should Know About

Photograph by Twenty20

When it's too warm to play outside during the summer, keeping your kids indoors seems like the safest bet. But what happened to one Canadian family is a cautionary story we won't soon forget.

July is typically the warmest month in Edmonton, Alberta, but highs usually reach no more than 74 degrees. With temperatures like that, who needs air conditioning? But, when a heat wave caused temperatures to rise into the 90s, Jennifer Abma decided to keep her kids inside because it was just too hot.

According to reports, about an hour after putting her 2-year-old girl down for a nap, Abma found her daughter red-hot, drenched in sweat and completely unresponsive.

"It felt like she had just been lit on fire," Abma said. "It was like walking into a sauna. I never realized a bedroom could do that to a kid."

But it can, especially if the windows in their room are in the direct path of the sun. By the time paramedics arrived, her bedroom had topped 100 degrees.

Abma later took to Instagram, using a photo she took of her pink-faced toddler to warn about the dangers of indoor heat stroke. Her viral message sparked heated debate (and angry comments) among self-righteous parents everywhere, so much so that she deleted the photo.

Still, once you share your deepest and darkest secrets with social media, critics will find a way to voice their opinion, particularly when it comes to raising kids.

“No, it is not my fault this happened to her but it is hard not to blame yourself," Abma wrote. "This is a lesson learned and hopefully other parents can take something from this and make sure you are checking the rooms in your house because they can be as dangerous as a hot car."

It's easy to shake an online finger when a child is in danger, but accidents happen, and weather conditions like these are scarce in cooler climates.

If anything, we should listen. This mother chose to share her account—a near-fatal "screw-up"—so that none of us ever make the same mistake. Sure, we can publicly humiliate her for not checking the temperature in her daughter’s room or failing to make sure she drank plenty of fluids before her nap, but how will that change what has already taken place?

Will shaming a distraught mother teach others to “get it right the first time”?

None of us is perfect, even those who think they are. We make mistakes; we mess up and parenting is hard. This woman didn't leave her kid in a hot car while running into the store to buy cigarettes; she put her daughter safely down for a nap in her own room—IN CANADA—where ceiling fans and air conditioning are practically mythical in some parts.

Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. The more we learn about how to prevent (or treat) them, the better prepared we will be. And that means all of us, not just her.

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