Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

December 2, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Carbon Monoxide: Invisible Winter Hazard

Safe Kids Kansas recommends home CO detectors

With the arrival of colder weather, Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers that fuel-burning appliances such as supplemental space heaters and generators can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in the home.

“We all know it’s essential to have working smoke alarms in every sleeping area, but what about carbon monoxide detectors?” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible.  It can kill, and can also make a child seriously ill in small doses that might not noticeably affect an adult.”

Each year, in the United States, nearly 4,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for CO exposure — not counting fire-related cases — and seven die. “Half of all CO poisoning deaths could be prevented by CO detectors,” says Stegelman. “CO detectors are available at hardware stores for about $20, a small price to pay to help detect odorless, poisonous gases in the home.”

Safe Kids Kansas also recommends these precautions against CO poisoning:

 If someone who has been in a poorly ventilated room with a fuel-burning appliance begins to feel nauseous, drowsy or confused, or complains of a headache, move the victim to fresh air and call 9-1-1. If more than one person in the home suddenly feels ill for no apparent reason, or if a CO alarm goes off, get everyone outside immediately and call the fire department from a pre-arranged meeting place.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area.  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.