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How to Help Protect Your Children from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

How to Help Protect Your Children from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

Each year in the United States, approximately 50,000 individuals visit emergency departments due to carbon monoxide poisoning, resulting in over 400 fatalities.

The Risks of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

When children inhale carbon monoxide, it disrupts their blood’s ability to carry oxygen. While everyone faces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, it poses a particularly grave danger to children due to their faster breathing rate and higher inhalation of CO per pound of body weight. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to safeguard your family against CO poisoning.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates for collaborative efforts within families and communities to shield children from carbon monoxide exposure, especially during emergencies or crises such as power outages.

The likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning escalates following disasters, when gasoline- or diesel-powered generators are utilized as makeshift sources of fuel or electricity for heating or cooking. This can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide within a home or garage.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector 

To guard against carbon monoxide poisoning or exposure, it’s essential to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home, ideally on each floor. If you rely on battery-operated detectors, remember to replace the batteries every six months. It’s important to note that plug-in detectors may not activate during a power outage if there’s a carbon monoxide leak.

If your detector sounds an alarm, evacuate the premises immediately and dial 911. If the weather is cold, seek refuge at a neighbor’s house or in your car until the fire department arrives. If you choose to wait in your car, ensure it’s parked outside, as carbon monoxide emissions from the exhaust can swiftly accumulate in a garage, even with the door open.

More Tips to Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Keep fuel-burning appliances well-maintained  
  • Ensure proper ventilation of running vehicles and other appliances that may create Carbon Monoxide 
  • Never use vehicles or generators indoors 
  • Be cautious with barbecue grills, hibachis, boats, and other sources of CO emissions

If you have additional concerns about checking the level of carbon monoxide in your home, and other measures you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, our regional Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) have staff who can also talk with parents about concerns over environmental toxins.


For questions or any other concerns, Augusta Pediatrics can be reached at (706) 868-0389. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical 

advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

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