As of Monday, eight children and one adult have been released from the hospital after the Niles hotel CO poisoning, according to this Michigan news source. The tragedy left a 13-year-old boy, Bryan Douglas Watts, dead. The other children affected were ages 12 to 14.

Niles Hotel CO Poisoning

Pools are supposed to be a place for children to have fun, not to be put into danger. In the Niles hotel CO poisoning, one 13-year-old boy died due to carbon monoxide poisoning that could have been prevented with a carbon monoxide alarm.

When a hotel employee noticed the children by the pool, they were unresponsive, and she called for help. She is credited with helping to save the lives of some of the other children. In the MLive article, the captain of the fire department said, “How close it could have been to six fatalities instead of one.” One of the victims had been playing by the pool and was found unresponsive in a first floor room.

The fire captain said in the article that the worst thing that could happen would be for this kind of tragedy to occur again. One of the tidbits of knowledge he disseminated was that carbon monoxide (CO) causes headaches and confusion, and if two people have these symptoms in a public setting, consider the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The problem with the law in Michigan right now is that the law only requires new construction of motels and hotels, according to this chart. When the Quality Inn & Suites was built, it was not a requirement. After this incident, hopefully it becomes one.

This was a very unfortunate event that came out of kids trying to have a good time. The time at the pool was their “spring break getaway.” It is more tragic when something horrible happens and it could have easily been prevented. Hopefully this tragedy will prevent another one from occurring again. Before the law can change though, the fire captain advised buying an inexpensive carbon monoxide detector from the hardware store and bringing it with you whenever you are not staying at home as a precautionary measure.

This story of the Niles hotel CO poisoning resembles the tragedy of the Boone, NC hotel carbon monoxide poisoning in 2013, which can be read about here. An 11-year-old boy was found dead in a hotel room in that tragic story. The room was located near the pool, which was being heated with a natural gas heater. About two months prior, an elderly couple was found deceased in the same hotel room. The Winston-Salem Journal implicates carbon monoxide in both death incidents, quoting a family member of the elderly couple who died asking why the hotel still rents the room out.

As the Niles, MI fire captain said, the only thing worse than the Niles hotel CO poisoning would be for it to happen again. Well, in the Boone, NC hotel poisoning, it happened twice. That is a horrible tragedy. They could have prevented the tragedy by conducting an investigation and placing carbon monoxide detectors in the pool area and by the rooms after the first time someone died. Carbon monoxide gas affects children and the elderly more than others, so it is no wonder that these were the victims, the most vulnerable, an elderly couple and a child. Hopefully the Niles, MI tragedy serves as a lesson to people and to the hotel to purchase carbon monoxide detectors and to know the warning signs of CO poisoning. As the fire captain implied in the Niles hotel CO poisoning, it could have been a lot worse with more people who died. Unfortunately though, the children who survived may still face neurological and behavioral problems as a result of the poisoning.

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