Carbon Monoxide Alarms could prevent half of all CO poisoning deaths

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Press release from Allen County Safe Kids:

Carbon Monoxide Alarms Could Prevent Half of All CO Poisoning Deaths

(December 16, 2010) – With the arrival of the holiday season comes the arrival of colder weather, as well as an increase in the number of homes using fuel-burning appliances. These appliances include ovens, space heaters, generators, indoor grills and fireplaces, and they can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up in the home.

“Families today are better at understanding the importance of having working smoke alarms in every sleeping area, but what about carbon monoxide alarms?” says Mark Miller, chief dive tech for hyperbaric medicine, St. Joseph Hospital. “Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it is odorless and invisible, and it can kill. CO in small doses that might not noticeably affect an adult can make a child seriously ill.”

According to a 2004-2006 study, children younger than 5 years old have the highest estimated rate of CO-related visits to the emergency room each year in the United States. More than 25 kids die from CO poisoning every year.

Important safety tips to protect families from CO poisoning include:

  • Prevent CO buildup in the first place – make sure heating appliances are in good working order and are used only in well-ventilated areas.
  • Don’t run a car engine in the garage, even to warm it up; move the car outside first.
  • Install a CO alarm outside every sleeping area, on every level of your home and at least 15 feet away from every fuel-burning appliance.
  • When you check your smoke alarm batteries each month, check the batteries on your CO alarms at the same time. Replace the batteries twice a year.
  • Never use a stove as a source of heat.

“CO alarms are available at hardware stores for about $20,” says Carmen DeBruce, Allen County Safe Kids Coordinator. “That is a small price to pay to help detect odorless, poisonous gases in the home before it’s too late.”

For more information about CO poisoning, visit or call the poison control hotline at (800) 222-1222.

Allen County Safe Kids is a coalition of local organizations dedicated to preventing accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. The lead organization for Allen County Safe Kids is Lutheran Children’s Hospital, which is the local sponsor of the Kids dart. Drive smart. campaign. Allen County Safe Kids is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Allen County Safe Kids was founded in 1999.


The Allen County Safe Kids coalition includes these member organizations:

  • Allen County Sheriff’s Department
  • American Red Cross
  • Community Action of Northeast Indiana (CANI)
  • Early Childhood Alliance
  • Family & Children’s Services
  • Fort Wayne Fire Department
  • Fort Wayne Police Department
  • Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving
  • Indiana State Police
  • Lutheran Children’s Hospital (lead organization)
  • Lutheran Hospital
  • New Haven Police Department
  • New York Life
  • Parkview Hospital
  • RSVP
  • Safe Kids Volunteer Corps
  • St. Joseph Regional Burn Center
  • Stop Child Abuse & Neglect (SCAN)
  • Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA)


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