Crying baby saves parents from carbon monoxide poisoning

Jan 21, 2016 at 5:35 p.m. ET
Image: Kameleon007/Getty Images

Crying baby got you down? When you hear Kyle and Monique Ruppel's story, you'll probably start counting your blessings. Because these two Kamloops parents would likely not be here today, had their daughter Celia not woken them up with her cries in the middle of the night, alerting them to a carbon monoxide leak.

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Monique Ruppel took to Facebook, writing an awestruck post: "This precious little angel did something extraordinary," she writes. "Something she will not fully understand until she is grown. She literally saved our lives."


At 3 AM, Monique recalls waking up to go comfort her daughter, but only being able to take a few steps before intense vertigo took hold of her. Her husband Kyle promptly woke up to help, and it became clear something was really, really wrong. The couple was suffering from typical signs of carbon monoxide poisoning: "dizziness, headache, nausea, and burning eyes," writes Monique. Little Celia was affected the worst:

"Celia was very sick when I got her out of her crib, she was vomiting and very lethargic," Monique tells CBC News.

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Luckily, thanks to Celia's cries, the family is alive to tell the story — and all in good health. Doctors place people who suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning on stretchers and slide them into silicone chambers where they're treated using Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy. This process works to remove carbon monoxide from your blood, restoring your oxygen levels to normal. Monique recalls (on Facebook), that she and her husband had to undergo three 2.5 hour-long dives in a Hyperbaric Chamber.

If this harrowing experience has left Monique with anything, it's gratitude for her daughter and a need to encourage others to take action to prevent the same — or a much worse — experience: "Please ensure you have a Carbon Monoxide detector and that it works," she writes.

Over 50 Canadians die needlessly each year from carbon monoxide poisoning (according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs). Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are sometimes mistaken for a flu, as they include having sore eyes, head pain, fainting, confusion and feeling sleepy. If you have symptoms like these and they improve when you leave your home, that's surefire sign you need to get your carbon monoxide detector checked.

And how often should you check them? AllState Insurance points out that these alarms are not 100% reliable, so it's a good idea to test the alarms themselves once a month, changing the batteries every six months. There are different guidelines for each carbon monoxide monitor, so you should contact the company that sold it to you to find out how often you need to have yours checked. As children are among the most at-risk to carbon monoxide poisoning, these are especially important safety measures for parents to take.

"Just stay on top of those things," stresses Monique to CBC News. "It's not worth the risk. They're not expensive."

And as we don't all have tiny guardian angels looking out for us, we couldn't agree more!

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