November 5, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Hazard in Your Home

KDHE, Kansas State Fire Marshal, Safe Kids Kansas Recommend Home CO Detectors

TOPEKA, Kan. - The arrival of colder weather means more homes will be turning up the heat with fuel-burning appliances. These appliances include furnaces, ovens, space heaters, generators, indoor grills and fireplaces, and they can unknowingly cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in the home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children younger than five years old have the highest estimated rate of CO-related visits to the emergency room each year among all age groups in the United States. Nationally, more than 25 children die from CO poisoning every year. In Kansas, over 500 people have been hospitalized and four people have died from CO poisoning over the past 10 years.

“Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of common winter ailments, like the flu.  So, without a CO detector in your home, your family can be poisoned without even realizing its happening.” 

“We encourage Kansans to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes and remind them of their importance.  Having a working CO alarm is just as important as having a smoke alarm, and these devices will provide the best protection for early detection,” said Doug Jorgensen, Kansas State Fire Marshal.

“The harmful effects of carbon monoxide strike rapidly and can be deadly,” says Tom Langer, Director of the Bureau of Environmental Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). “So, it’s important to have working CO detectors in your home to alert you of this invisible danger before it’s too late.” Carbon monoxide detectors cost approximately $20 and can be purchased at most hardware and retail stores.

Here are some tips to protect your family from CO poisoning: 


For more information about CO poisoning, visit and, or call the Poison Control Hotline at (800) 222-1222.