BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - An expert told 24 Hour News 8 it's "miraculous" toddler Amber Rose Smith survived alone in the woods for nearly 24 hours.
The temperatures dropped to about 43 degrees Tuesday night. That's the night two-and-a-half-year-old Amber wandered away from her home into the Manistee National Forest. The little girl was wearing only a tank top.
"It's really quite miraculous that she's doing so well," said Spectrum Health Big Rapids's nursing director Netty Cove. "It was a cold last night, and it's really very hard in a little one of that age."
Amber was reportedly doing well Wednesday night. A hospital representative said that it did not appear the little girl was dehydrated.
A child' small body is not able to regulate heat as well as a adult can, and she would have been more susceptible to the cold since she was not wearing many layers.
She was going to be kept in the hospital overnight Wednesday for observation.
24 Hour News 8 asked Cove if a few degrees cooler would have made the difference between a happy ending and a sad one.
"The colder the temperatures, more things happen to the body," said Cove. "Hypothermia, you have to think about, you know, without having any food and drink and dehydration. So it can get pretty serious."
The Centers for Disease Control's website states that although hypothermia is "most likely" at very cold temperatures, it can occur in "cool temperatures" like "above 40°F" -- especially if someone gets wet with sweat or rain.
The site goes on to explain that when someone is exposed to cold temperatures for a long time, the low body temperature can affect the brain, "making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it."
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