Resources for New Moms

Keeping Your Family Safe from Carbon Monoxide

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning? 

Symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms. 

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are: 

  • Headache. 
  • Dizziness. 
  • Weakness. 
  • Upset stomach. 
  • Vomiting. 
  • Chest pain. 
  • Confusion. 

If your CO alarm goes off, follow these simple steps: 

  • Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible and into fresh air.  
  • Then call for help from a neighbor’s home or a cell phone outside of your home. 
  • If someone is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms, call 911 for medical attention. 


How can I prevent CO poisoning in my home? 

  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.  
  • Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming.  
  • Replace your CO detector every five years. 
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year. If you smell an odor from your gas appliances, have an expert service it. An odor f can mean it could be leaking CO. 
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors. 
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories. 
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly. 
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin. 
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper. 
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a buildup of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper. 
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO. 
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper. 
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. 
  • When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.  

Information sourced from