The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Alarms

by jessicaturner on March 20, 2014

CarbonMonoxideDetectorMy full-time job primarily revolves around managing and developing content for one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals. It is an incredibly rewarding experience. I hear many inspirational stories from parents, physicians and kids.

Some stories impact me more than others, as was the case this winter when I learned of a little girl who was in the hospital because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A few weeks later, her mom wrote a blog post about their experience, and it was a powerful reminder of the importance of being vigilant to the effects of CO on my kids. You see, this family’s CO alarm sounded at 70 ppm (which is standard), but their little girl was already unconscious when they found her. (Thankfully they took her to the hospital and she is okay.) While anyone is susceptible, experts agree that unborn babies, small children, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to CO and are at the greatest risk for death or serious injury.

This week is Poison Prevention Week, so if you don’t have CO alarms in your home, it is a good time to make a point to purchase one for every level of your home, including your basement. You might remember from last month that Kidde sent our family Worry-Free CO alarms for our home.

I really like that my CO alarms have a digital display screen as they show levels as low as 30 ppm, and when I hit the peak level button, will show levels as low as 11 ppm.  I now check whenever I walk by – just to make sure it shows ‘0.’ But if it doesn’t, I’ll see that display and can get my kids out of the home.

Carbon monoxide, which is known as the “silent killer” because it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. Carbon monoxide can come from any of the following sources (taken from Kidde’s website).

  • Any fuel-burning appliance that is malfunctioning or improperly installed.
  • Furnaces, gas range/stove, gas clothes dryer, water heater, portable fuel-burning space heaters, fireplaces, generators and wood burning stoves.
  • Vehicles, generators and other combustion engines running in an attached garage.
  • Blocked chimney or flue.
  • Cracked or loose furnace exchanger.
  • Back drafting and changes in air pressure.
  • Operating a grill in an enclosed space.

Don’t think it could never happen to you. Please protect your family.

Here are a few additional helpful resources related to CO:
Kidde CO Safety page
CPSC info about CO
SafeKids CO safety page
SafeKids Poison Safety page

Disclosure: The post is the fourth in a year-long sponsored series by Kidde. Some links are affiliate links.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mothering from Scratch March 20, 2014 at 9:29 am

{Melinda} I used to be a healthcare writer, Jessica, for a number of physician practices and a local hospital. I really did like it a lot. I can see why you love doing this for a children’s hospital.

Thank you for the important safety heads-up. I think these are often things we just don’t think about, but should.


Mary Cardini-Anderson March 22, 2014 at 8:40 am

I have a CO alarm because I have an attached garage to my home. I do not use natural gas or any other gas in my home. But having the garage made me nervous enough to buy an alarm. Thanks for writing what you have. I hope everyone is aware that having a CO alarm is very important.

Mary from NH


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