It began with a fall into the corner of the table and a nasty lump and bruise on 3-year-old Kaitlin's head.  As toddlers sometimes do, they get bumps and bruises. The swelling went down, but the spot was painful to the touch.

Soon thereafter, Kaitlin was experiencing the symptoms of flu.  Her mom and dad kept her home from preschool.

That night, the furnace in the basement died.  It was 12 degrees and the temperature was still dropping.  Not a great night for a furnace to quit.

Karen made a call to her father. Since her dad is in the construction business, he told her to call a furnace repairman that he had faith in.

The repairman told her to get a space heater for the night and to make the best of it. The next day, Karen's dad followed up with a call. When he found out what the repairman said, he made the call himself and got someone to come over immediately.

The repairman didn't take long to determine that a new furnace was needed. Since it was close to Christmas, Karen's dad agreed to make it his Christmas gift to them.

It also didn't take long for the repairman to determine the home had high levels of carbon monoxide.

That immediately explained why Kaitlin ran into the table. It also explained why Karen and Sam had frequent headaches and felt tired.

They took Kaitlin to the hospital where doctors determined that she had carbon monoxide poisoning, in addition to a mild concussion from her accident.

This is a true story that happened this week in Sioux Falls. The family is lucky and grateful to be alive. Carbon monoxide is nothing to take for granted.

With our cold temperatures, it doesn't take long for a furnace to expose its weaknesses and quit. It also doesn't take long for carbon monoxide to fill your home.

If you're not sure, get a qualified repairman to come out and make an inspection and test for carbon monoxide levels in your home.

Also, invest in some quality carbon monoxide detectors. They can and will save your family's lives, just as you rely on your smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors should be present on every level of your home.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and when it enters your body it attaches to the hemoglobin in your blood and poisons your body. Symptoms include headaches, being tired, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, problems with coordination, fainting and it can cause seizures.  It is a silent killer.

Make it a Christmas and New Year's resolution to get a furnace inspection and up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors in your home.  Your family's lives depend on it.