Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide & Vehicle Safety Tips from
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is emitted by running vehicles and can quickly cause disorientation, sudden illness or even death. Often called the “silent or invisible killer,” the deadly gas often goes undetected, striking victims who are caught off guard or succumb in their sleep. Early signs of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea.
Vehicle-related CO tragedies occur when vehicles are left running inside the garage of a home or if the tailpipe becomes clogged by snow, ice or debris. Additionally, mechanical problems can cause CO to leak into the cabin of a vehicle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die in the United States each year due to unintentional, non-fire-related CO poisoning, many of which were vehicle-related.
  • Ensure that you have working carbon monoxide detectors in all areas of the home, especially near sleeping areas. Replace batteries twice a year and replace detectors every 6-10 years.
  • Always clear the tailpipe of a vehicle in inclement weather conditions. If the tailpipe becomes clogged with ice, snow or other debris, carbon monoxide can leak into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. (do the same in your home’s dryer, fireplace and furnace vents)
  • Never warm up a vehicle in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
  • Never leave a vehicle running in the garage, not even with the garage door open.
  • Keyless ignitions vehicles should always be double-checked to ensure the vehicle has been turned off. Even if you take the key fob with you, the vehicle could keep running.

  • Do not put children or adults inside a running vehicle while clearing snow or ice off the vehicle.
  • During busy times and changes in routine be extra cautious as distractions and multi-tasking can lead to forgetting to turn the car off, even for the fanatically detail-oriented organized person.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times and make sure keys and remote openers are out of reach of children. Children may be tempted to get into vehicles to play or hide.
  • Do not allow children to play behind a running vehicle. This is dangerous for numerous reasons. The driver is unable to see them in the blindzone that exists behind all vehicles and they will be exposed to the fumes coming out of the vehicle’s exhaust system.
  • NEVER leave a child alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute.

What to do if carbon monoxide alarms sound in the home:

  • All members of the home including pets should immediately move outside to fresh air
  • Call 911
  • Do not reenter the home until authorities have given you permission to do so


Press Releases:

Deaths of Louisville Father, Toddler Show Danger of Carbon Monoxide – November 30, 2018

Keyless ignition-unintended consequences can be deadly – December 22, 2015

New Study Released on Nontraffic Injuries and Fatalities in Young Children – 9/27/2017


PARK IT Act (S. 1437)

Federal bill that would require an auto-shut-off feature in all new vehicles with a keyless ignition.

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Child Stories / Tragedies