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KSL Investigates: 5-day-old baby treated for CO poisoning; apartment lacked detector

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers may be poised to change a law banning local governments from requiring landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors in older apartments. Utah is the only state in the nation with this type of law on the books.

The lack of a CO detector in one Provo apartment nearly cost a young family their lives.

Baby Jane Taylor may hold a record no mother wants.

Back in January, baby Jane, who was only five days old at the time, was treated in a hyperbaric chamber with her mom for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We’re lucky that things turned out the way that they did,” said Jane’s mother, Bethany Taylor. “I couldn’t believe this was happening to my brand new little baby and I was so worried about what was going to happen to her.”

The Taylors used a gas furnace in their apartment to help keep Jane warm. On their second night home from the hospital, Bethany Taylor, her husband Kendall Taylor, and her mother-in-law all felt sick. Jane was also acting strangely.

Bethany Taylor said, “My main concern was (Jane) was really sleepy and wasn’t eating and that’s how I knew that something was wrong with her because she’s a brand new baby, she’s hungry.”

Kendall Taylor searched the Internet with the family’s symptoms and came up with carbon monoxide poisoning. The apartment didn’t have a CO detector, so they decided to go to the hospital. Dr. James Stewart diagnosed Jane with CO poisoning. He put her in a hyperbaric chamber with her mom to squeeze out the poison from her blood.

“She was just like a baby again, she cried, she responded to her mom, she was very hungry when she came out of the chamber,” said Stewart.

He said the Taylors were incredibly lucky.

“Potentially you could have had three obituaries,” said Stewart.

Bethany Taylor shared her story with lawmakers Monday. She’s supporting the effort to repeal Utah’s current law. A recent KSL Investigation revealed the law bans cities and counties from requiring landlords to put carbon monoxide detectors in older apartments. Bethany Taylor said it should be changed.

“It’s something that should just become an automatic requirement just like a smoke detector, just like you know, a bathroom,” said Bethany Taylor.

The Taylors’ landlord installed carbon monoxide detectors after Bethany Taylor told her what happened. The landlord told the KSL Investigators the law should be changed.

Lawmakers put the bill on hold Monday. Several lawmakers urged the sponsor to change the language to split the responsibility for carbon monoxide detectors between landlords and tenants.

A shared responsibility provision would require landlords to install the detectors, and then tenants would have to maintain them. A lobbyist for the Utah Apartment Association told the committee it could support that change.

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