Parenthood is not easy! Part of raising your children as responsible adults is to teach them how to protect themselves in case something’s not right. Here’s how you can help your children identify the warning signs of a gas leak in your absence.
Take a look:
Describe the smell
Natural gas is colorless. Teach your child to recognize the smell. A potential gas leak could smell like many things, but the most common indication is the smell of rotten eggs. There are two main sources of a rotten egg smell: escaping sewer gas and natural gas. Sewer gas smells bad because of the presence of toxic substances like methane and hydrogen sulfide.
Teach your kids to inform you if they smell anything of this sort immediately. Tell them to stay away from any sources of flame. Children should know that they shouldn’t touch or go near a match or lighter or flip a switch on and off if they can smell rotten eggs. If they’re home alone, they should call 911 and evacuate the area as soon as possible.
Talk about the carbon monoxide detector
At times, carbon monoxide doesn’t smell like anything. This is an alarming situation because you can’t smell it, but it can still be absorbed by your body within minutes, leading to unconsciousness.
Common sources of carbon monoxide include fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters. To avoid this, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. The detector has an in-built biomimetic sensor that changes color and triggers an alarm if traces of carbon monoxide is detected.
If you live in a double-story house, make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector on each floor. Teach your kids the right way to evacuate if the alarm goes off. Instruct them to call 911 immediately and open all the doors and windows if they can. Your child should know that they’re not supposed to re-enter the house until the alarm stops, and a professional plumber has evaluated the situation.
Talk about warning symptoms
When there’s a gas leak, the amount of oxygen available for you to breathe also changes. As a result, the inhabitants of the house can experience sudden and unexplainable symptoms. Your child might not be old enough to understand what these symptoms mean. However, they should immediately reach out to an elder if they experience any of these symptoms suddenly:
- Sudden nausea
- Sudden difficulty in breathing
- Throat and eye irritation
You should teach your child to immediately inform you if they or their pets seem to be experiencing any of these symptoms. If the child is old enough, you can give them basic first-aid instructions too. Don’t overwhelm by using harsh words like ‘poisoning.’