Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Statistics show that children, whether infants or unborn, are extremely vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. The worst thing about this gas is that it has no smell or color, which makes it very difficult to detect. Some of the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning include: dizziness, nausea, headache, and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms while indoors, and improve immediately after exposure to fresh air outside, then you most probably have carbon monoxide poisoning. When one is exposed to very high levels they could become unconscious, or even die. Prolonged exposure increases one’s risk of heart disease too, if one survives the ordeal.

The good news is that carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented. How do you ensure that your child is safe from this fatal exposure? Some safety precautions at home will go a long way. Having a carbon monoxide detector could save your child’s life. Ensure that you replace the batteries as required. If the detector ever sounds, it is advisable to leave immediately. Calling 911 will be a good idea.

Ensure that the water heater, heating system, and all appliances that use coal, gas, and oil are serviced annually by a certified technician. Never use devices that burn gasoline or charcoal inside the home, whether it’s in the basement, near windows or even the garage.

If your garage is attached to the house, it is advisable not to run your car inside it even if the door is wide open. Never use a gas oven to heat up your house or burn anything in a fireplace which is not vented.

Always check your chimney and flues for back drafting, loose connections, and soot. Back drafting occurs if there is reverse air flow in equipment used for ventilation. If the flues are metallic, check for rust too. Rust and streaking water are indicators of a carbon monoxide leak. Calling in a professional to clean up your chimney at least once every year is crucial.

Always go for appliances that vent fumes outside if available. Ensure that they are properly maintained.

Never allow children to sleep in a room that is heated by an unvented kerosene or gas space heater.

Gasoline-powered engines such as those of generators and lawn mowers should never be run in closed spaces.

If your child has symptoms of carbon monoxide, don’t ignore them, especially if other people in the home are exhibiting the same symptoms.

When children are around, don’t use a paint remover containing methylene chloride- it becomes carbon monoxide once inside the body.

It is better to be safe than sorry.