Exactly how does an 18-month-old baby survive up to 14 hours in a freezing river? This is was the question everyone was struggling to answer after a tragic car crash which killed baby Lily’s mother, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck of Springfield, Utah.
Experts are now suggesting that the baby may have actually been helped by the freezing temperatures and her own babyish resilience.
Dr. Barbara Walsh of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center spoke of the science to CNN.
“When you become hypothermic, it slows the body down. Metabolism drops; your oxygen consumption drops; your glucose metabolism in use drops. It actually ends up being neuroprotective. The girl’s baby fat might also have helped insulate her from the elements. Children are very resilient, and I think sometimes we don’t realize how much they actually can withstand.”
It sounds as if the cold acted as a kind of preservative, forcing the baby’s body into a partial lockdown, while her fat provided her with a degree of insulation and her tenacious young physiology did their job at staving off various other threats.
Also vital in Lily’s survival was the car seat used by her 25-year-old mother. An appropriately sized car seat properly buckled into place kept Lily from falling out of the car and into the water.
Whether there were any other factors at play, such as the mysterious voice, has yet to be confirmed.
If the accident happened at the time police are deducing, the baby may have been there for up to 14 hours. Lily was left suspended upside down in her car seat after the crash, while the overnight temperatures plummeted. Clearly, the baby was also without food for all that time, and nobody knows when she was last fed before the crash.
But it seems like she had just enough in her system to get by. This time around at least, baby Lily’s body figured out what was best to protect it from a life-threatening environment until the emergency services arrived on scene. Although the medics claim that it was precisely that life-threatening environment which helped save her life.
This seems like a deeply tragic and somewhat confusing story, but one which retains the glimmer of hope in a baby’s survival against the odds.
Either way, the charmed baby Lily somehow made it out alive and is now recovering in a hospital, where her family say she is improving.
[Image – Spanish Fork City Police Dept./AFP/Getty Images]