(CBS) On a sweltering 90-degree day, Jennifer Abma thought she was doing the right thing by keeping her daughters inside.
The mom from Edmonton, Canada, was trying to prevent 1-year-old Ariel and 2-year-old Anastasia from getting heatstroke — but somehow her plan backfired.
About an hour after Anastasia went down for her afternoon nap on July 14, Abma checked in on the little girl and found her red hot and drenched in sweat. She tried to wake her up, but the 2-year-old wouldn't open her eyes.
"It felt like she had just been lit on fire," Abma described to CBS News. "It was like walking into a sauna. I never realized a bedroom could do that to a kid."
This is the first summer the family has spent in the house and they don't have air conditioning, but with windows wide open and curtains in every room, Abma didn't think anything of it.
"When the rest of your house is cool you expect the whole house should be like that," she said.
But apparently, with her daughter's room in the direct path of the sunlight and without blackout shades, the temperature where Anastasia was sleeping rose to over 100 degrees.
Abma quickly dialed 911, and paramedics arrived within minutes to treat the toddler for heatstroke.
They discovered Anastasia had a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and her blood sugar had fallen dangerously low.
"Her sugars were 1.2 and a kid's sugar level should be above 4," Abma explained.
Paramedics orally administered sucrose, dabbed ice on her skin to cool her off, and within 5 minutes she woke up crying. They stayed with the child for about 15 minutes until her temperature went down and they were certain she was OK.
Abma credits the paramedics for saving the life of her daughter two days before her third birthday.
"She was minutes from death. If they were 10 to 15 minutes later I don't think she'd here. For a kid to be out that long — I don't think she was going to come around," Abma said.
Officials encouraged Abma to take a picture of Anastasia and to share it with her friends and family as a warning. So she posted the photo along with a message online and it went viral.
She never expected the frightening story would be shared by so many, be she's glad people are taking her warning seriously. If it saves at least one life, Abma said it was worth sharing.
"Make sure you are checking the rooms in your house, because they can be as dangerous as a hot car," she warned. "I'm shook and I can't imagine what would have happened if I didn't go check on her."