Fuel-powered devices can provide wonderful benefits to families when used properly. But they also underscore an important necessity in the home: the need for a carbon monoxide alarm.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in garages. At its worst, carbon monoxide can cause severe side effects or even death.
Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide because of their smaller bodies. Children process carbon monoxide differently than adults, may be more severely affected by it, and may show signs of poisoning sooner. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness.
The Hard Facts
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that you cannot see, taste or smell. In 2009, poison control centers reported more than 3,551 cases of carbon monoxide exposure in children 19 and under.
- Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. As with smoke alarms, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms, and vice versa. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available.
- Don’t use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Don’t leave a car, SUV or motorcycle engine running inside a garage.
- If using gasoline-powered devices, store gasoline in a locked location where children cannot access it. Keep only small quantities in an approved container that has child safety features.
- Keep gasoline away from any source of heat, spark or flame. Even common household appliances such as water heaters and clothes dryers can start a gasoline fire. Be sure to store your gasoline away from anything that could ignite it.