BY VANESSA ROBINSON
Three years ago I lived every parent’s nightmare when I lost my two sons to carbon monoxide poisoning. I want to share some information that will hopefully prevent your family from suffering a similar tragedy.
My sons Chase and Tyler were aged eight and six years at the time of their deaths in May 2010. They were normal, healthy boys living with me in our rented Shepparton home.
It had never occurred to me that a silent killer could be lurking in our home. But it was – in the form of a gas wall heater that hadn’t been properly serviced by the landlord.
It was a typical Saturday in May when I put Chase and Tyler to bed. The autumn nights were cold and I left the gas heater running. In the middle of the night the boys became unsettled so they came into my room and went back to sleep with me. They never woke up.
Unbeknownst to me, our gas wall heater was leaking carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a silent killer – you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. The heater was faulty and it hadn’t been serviced for years – it was filling our home with poisonous gas that would kill my children and leave me – after recovering consciousness – with long-term, debilitating health problems.
After the boys were found, inspectors visited our home and found the carbon monoxide reading inside the house was a staggering 500 times higher than the safe level. They confirmed that the cause was our faulty gas wall heater.
As a result of my exposure to CO I have ongoing health problems including heart damage, reduced memory and limited use of one of my arms.