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My kids, safe and sound
This week is Poison Prevention Week. And when I think of “poison” I think of my kids drinking some kind of cleaning product or taking medicine not meant for them. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, the leading cause of accidental poisonings is actually carbon monoxide – the “silent killer.” It’s colorless, tasteless, has no scent, and for sure your kids aren’t drinking it. But with their smaller bodies, they would probably be the first ones to be injured or killed by it.
Approximately 400 people die in the U.S. each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, and another 20,000 have to go to the emergency room.
We almost found this out firsthand, in an incident that still sends chills up my spine almost eight years later. The night that we brought our daughter home from the hospital, our Kidde carbon monoxide alarm started beeping, and was reading 110 parts per million.
We immediately opened the windows and put the kids near them to get some fresh air ASAP, and called the gas company, which told us to call the fire department, which started breaking down doors and making sure everyone in the building was OK. It was really scary. But it wasn’t until later that what had almost happened really hit me.
That carbon monoxide alarm probably saved our kids’ lives. And maybe ours, too.
How To Prevent CO Poisoning
The good news is that carbon monoxide alarms are an easy fix. The easiest is Kidde’s Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm, which has a sealed-in ten year battery. No low battery beeps, no wondering if it’s working. You should install at least one alarm on each floor of your home, and in every bedroom.
A carbon monoxide alarm is the ONLY safe way to detect CO in your home.
What Causes CO Poisoning?
So what causes carbon monoxide? In our case, our building’s HVAC system had been installed incorrectly. When the right combination of units were on, CO gas was forced into our apartment. Many appliances and heaters can cause carbon monoxide to leak if they’re installed incorrectly, and using generators or grills indoors can also cause a lethal build-up of CO gas.
Idling cars can cause carbon monoxide to enter a home, either from an attached garage or a window. Our apartment faced a parking lot, which is why we’d initially gotten our carbon monoxide alarms: we wanted to make sure that the cars outside weren’t causing us any damage. Little did we know that the danger was actually inside our home.
CO Poisoning Symptoms
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be missed easily, because the early symptoms seem like the flu: dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and confusion. However, with CO poisoning there is no fever.
If you think someone has been exposed to carbon monoxide, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Other Poisoning Dangers
Of course, there are many other poisoning dangers to be aware of. Our kids are past the point where we worry about them accidentally drinking something they shouldn’t, but on the other hand, they’re also past the point where we can just lock them out of a cabinet. We’re heading into the dangerous waters of peer pressure, prescription abuse, and just being plain stupid. I wish there were a lock that would cover all of that.
You can get more information about carbon monoxide here: