Montreal Children's Hospital warns parents about risks of carbon monoxide

Task force recommends closure of 4 western Manitoba emergency rooms

The Montreal Children's Hospital is warning parents never to leave a child alone in an idling car, saying there have been several cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in children since Tuesday's blizzard.

Dr. Harley Eisman, director of the emergency department of the Montreal Children's Hospital, told CBC Homerun that if "the snow is actually plugging up the exhaust pipe, the carbon monoxide backs up into the cabin of the car." 

He said exposure to the gas is normally a "rare event in pediatrics."

The hospital is advising parents to remove snow from a car before starting the engine and making sure the exhaust pipe is cleared.

The hospitals also reminds parents not to leave cars running inside a garage, even if the garage door is open.

Signs to watch for

Mild carbon monoxide poisoning can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

More serious exposure can result in fainting, convulsions, coma and even death.

Eisman said this kind of exposure is "a tragedy waiting to happen," but thankfully, the cases seen at the children's so far have all had good outcomes.