Like most parents, Kyle and Monique Ruppel looked forward to the day their baby, Celia, would sleep through the night. However, they’re now grateful to her for waking them up, as the 15-month-old saved their lives by crying out.
If the baby hadn’t been fussing, her parents might not have known that their Kamloops, British Columbia, home was rapidly filling with poisonous fumes. The entire family, which included the Ruppels, four cats, and two dogs, would likely have suffered fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
“On Friday at 3 am [Celia] stirred for the second time. I attempted to make my way to her room but only made it a few feet before being completely overwhelmed with vertigo,” Monique wrote on her Facebook page Jan. 17. “Kyle immediately woke and we quickly realized something was wrong. We both suffered from dizziness, headache, nausea, and burning eyes.”
Baby Celia. (Photo: Monique Ruppel/Facebook)
By the time Monique reached Celia’s room and picked her up, the baby began vomiting. “As I held her, my cat collapsed at my feet,” wrote Monique. Meanwhile, Kyle had called his parents to come help the desperately ill couple, and since the parents live nearby, they arrived soon enough to help the family out of the house and to call 911 — just as Kyle fell to the ground.
“I remember thinking in that moment, ‘Is this what it feels like to die?’” Kyle told Canada’s National Post. “Because there was nothing I could do to make my body respond to what my mind was telling me.”
When the paramedics arrived, the young family was rushed to the local hospital and treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, then quickly airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital, where they received oxygen therapy in a hyperbaric chamber.
Photo: Monique Ruppel/Facebook
“This precious little angel did something extraordinary. Something she will not fully understand until she is grown. She literally saved our lives,” Monique wrote on Facebook.
But the story doesn’t end there. The Ruppels acknowledge that none of this would have happened if they had been better prepared. “Our house is 26 years old and we didn’t have any carbon monoxide detectors,” Kyle told the Post. “I think it was one of those things that never crossed our minds.”
As soon as the Ruppels returned home safely and were reunited with their pets, which had been cared for by Monique’s co-workers from the veterinary clinic where she is employed, the couple set about making their home a safer place to live. They replaced their furnace, which was the source of the gas leak, and installed three new carbon monoxide detectors, according to the Post.
“Please ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector and that it works,” Monique pleaded on Facebook. “We are so thankful Celia woke us. We often wished she would sleep through the night but we do not feel that way any more. Our sweet, sweet baby saved us all.”