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Happy Campers Warned on Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

With the school summer holidays upon us, the trade association for the UK LP Gas industry (UKLPG) is issuing a timely warning to people planning a camping or caravanning vacation to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

CO is a colourless, odourless gas and is poisonous. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, chest pains, nausea and vomiting. At high levels, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause sudden collapse, loss of consciousness and death. Every year around 200 people go to hospital with CO poisoning and sadly for around 40 of these, it proves fatal.

A major cause of these incidents has been bringing charcoal barbecues inside tents, but there is also a need to be vigilant with portable gas appliances, such as gas lamps and gas cookers, used in camping and caravanning. There has been a dramatic increase in the sale of gas barbecues due to their convenience and cost; up by 164% year-on-year according to one major DIY retailer.

Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG, said: “Research, carried out by Gas Safe Register in 2013, found that many people do not understand the dangers of CO on holiday. Indeed, more than half of the people surveyed did not realise that a smoking charcoal barbecue in a tent, caravan, motor home or room can result in CO poisoning. More than a third did not realise that using a portable gas camping stove inside can be a potential danger and more than 20% did not realise CO can build up in a poorly ventilated space, such as a caravan, with working gas appliances in it.

“UKLPG works closely with the Gas Safe Register as well as the wider industry, to ensure that the potential dangers of CO when campingand caravanning are highlighted so that the tragic deaths that do occur can be avoided.

"It is great fun to cook outdoors, especially when the weather is good, but holiday makers need to be aware that they should never take these appliances indoors, even if it starts raining or is particularly cold, or windy.

"Ventilation is absolutely vital and in small enclosed spaces such as tents and caravans the gas can build up to fatal levels very quickly. Here are UKLPG's tips on how to stay safe:


  • Use LP Gas stoves, lights or heaters OUTDOORS ONLY.
  • Tents and awnings are not ‘outdoors' and, surprisingly, are not well ventilated
  • Don't use LP Gas appliances near flammable materials, including fabrics and long grass
  • Don't smoke when changing cylinders and cartridges
  • Do use appliances in accordance with the instructions
  • Do keep LP Gas cylinders and cartridges outside tents
  • Do change cylinders and cartridges outside away from any source of ignition, never in a tent
  • Do check that the appliance is in good order, undamaged and that hoses are properly attached and undamaged. If in doubt, don't use it
  • Do know where you are, what the emergency arrangements are on camping sites and how to call for help.”


"Over a million people use portable gas appliances safely each year and as we look forward to summer, we want to ensure that everyone remains vigilant and avoids CO poisoning. By following these simple rules, holiday makers can make sure that they avoid the risks and stay safe," added Shuttleworth.