July 24, 2014

We Have a Winner- Kid’s Poster Contest on Carbon Monoxide Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sponsored a nationwide carbon monoxide (CO) safety poster contest to help raise awareness about the dangers of CO in the home. Possible topics for posters included: recognizing CO exposure and CO exposure symptoms; the inability to see or smell CO; steps to protect against CO poisoning; and installation and testing of a CO alarm.

This contest was open to all middle school age children in grades 6, 7 and 8.

Carbon monoxide is called the “Invisible Killer” because it can’t be seen or smelled. It can kill its victims quickly. Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home?

How Deadly CO Gets Into a Home:

* Running a portable generator in an enclosed space, basement or living area
* Running a car in an attached garage
* Poorly operating fuel-burning appliances or faulty ventilation
* Burning charcoal inside your home

“Congratulations to all the winners of CPSC’s carbon monoxide poster contest,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “We heard from middle school teachers that their students not only had fun creating the posters but also learned about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Our staff had a real challenge choosing the winners because there were so many terrific entries.”

CPSC received nearly 450 entries from 6th, 7th and 8th grade students across the nation. The contest is intended to raise awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide in the home. CPSC estimates there were 184 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products each year from 2005 to 2007.

Trachell from Hawaii, whose poster is pictured above, was the grand prize winner.

Here are some other winning entries:

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a silent, odorless killer. As a household dweller, you are responsible for preventing the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) from harming you or your loved ones. Many household appliances emit CO, or can if they are not functioning properly.

Carbon monoxide is produced whenever fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. The amount of CO produced while using fuel-burning appliances is usually not harmful. It becomes hazardous when appliances are used improperly or are not functioning adequately.

Residential sources:

  • furnaces
  • woodstoves
  • water heaters
  • gas stoves
  • fireplaces

Even at low levels of exposure, carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems. There are a number of symptoms that are indicators of possible carbon monoxide poisoning. These symptoms vary depending on the amount of exposure to the actual poison. Recently, studies have been performed to show that chronic carbon monoxide poisoning can result in long term, residual effects on our bodies. Symptoms such as nausea, headaches and light-headedness should be checked by a physician especially when more than one person in the home is showing symptoms. Although everyone needs to be aware of the dangers, some people are more susceptible than others. The following are more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Foetuses
  • Infants
  • Elderly People
  • Those who suffer from anaemia, respiratory or heart disease

Precautionary Measures
Routinely at the beginning of every heating season home owners should have their fuel burning appliances checked by a qualified technician. Appliances deteriorate with time and can be a health risk to those who live in the home.

Besides having your appliances inspected, those using fuel-burning appliances should have their homes equipped with carbon monoxide detectors to provide added peace of mind. Appliances can break down any time of year so it is important to have a back-up system in place to keep you informed when CO levels increase. A CO detector should be placed on every floor in the home to provide the best protection.