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Police: Warming up cars can pose carbon monoxide dangers

On frosty mornings, sliding into an already-toasty vehicle to head to school or work can be tempting.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — On frosty mornings, sliding into an already-toasty car to head to school or work can be tempting. 

But Meridian Police say people should make sure they are warming up their vehicles safely when they are parked in a garage. 

Although the remote-start feature is convenient, leaving a car running inside an enclosed space can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. The odorless gas can fill a garage and seep into the house if a vehicle is left on too long. 

RELATED: Turn up the heat: How to safely keep your home warm this winter

Symptoms include feeling tired, nauseous, dizzy, or getting a headache. High levels of carbon monoxide are fatal, and can kill within minutes.

"Starting vehicles inside a garage is a step in many people's morning routines, but we want our citizens to be safe about it," said Deputy Chief  Tracy Basterrechea, "Opening the garage door prior to turning the ignition on is a quick and easy way to prevent harmful gasses from filling the garage and home."

Anyone who thinks they are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should call 911 immediately. Police urge people to never leave children unattended in a car, especially if it is running, and to drive with a window slightly open in cold weather to increase air flow. 

RELATED: Police warn about leaving idling car unattended

Those who start their cars in a driveway or on the street to warm them up aren't entirely safe either: Leaving your car running and unattended can put you at risk of a ticket, or worse, a stolen car.