A young mum from Lancashire has issued a stark warning after her family had a near death experience in their caravan.

On August 29, Amber and James Yates from Lytham, who had packed their suitcases to travel 200 miles for a holiday, were lucky to escape after carbon monoxide flooded their caravan.

The couple, along with their six-week-old son, Elliot, and dog, Oakley, had travelled the distance to meet a group of friends who they had not seen in while.

But in the early hours of Sunday August 29, they were awoken to the sound of the caravan's carbon monoxide detector going off - and within minutes, the reading had shot from 90 to 200. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

Amber said: "We like to get out in our caravan every weekend we can, but we'd had a small break with having a baby, and this was our first trip with Elliot and we were so excited to show him our happy place.

"In the early hours of Sunday morning, we had a near death experience.

"We were woken up just after 3am by our carbon monoxide detector alarming.

"The number on the alarm read 90 when it woke us up, but in the two minutes it took us to grab the baby and get out of the van the monitor was reading over 200."

Amber and James managed to get out of the van and went to wake their friends, who took them into their caravan.

The mum-of-one said: "Once we had breathed in some fresh air we realised how unwell we felt.

"Our chests were very tight and it was painful to breath.

"At the time I felt that I was able to drive us to hospital but looking back we should have phoned an ambulance, but I was running on adrenalin."

Lancashire Telegraph:

After James had ran back to the van to grab essentials for the baby and to turn off all the gas appliances, Amber drove her family to the nearest hospital, some 17 minutes away.

She added: "On the drive in we were both beginning to feel worse, thankfully we were only a 17 minute drive from the nearest A&E.

"When we got to hospital we were all taken into a family room on the children’s unit, it was here that James’ condition seemed to worsen.

"He was taken up to the adult A&E for further tests and was put on oxygen.

"We now see that this was because he re-entered the caravan after we had escaped."

Lancashire Telegraph:

Miraculously, Elliot’s blood gas results were close to the normal range and lower than James’, but doctors told the family that with a carbon monoxide reading above 50 to expect some symptoms.

They were also told that a reading above 150 was life threatening.

Amber continued: "One hundred and fifty was a much lower number than those we were exposed to.

"We had unknowingly been travelling without batteries in our carbon monoxide detector for some while, without giving it much thought because it’s just one of those things that ‘happens to someone else’."

Amber said it was only out of sheer luck that they managed to survive, as prior to that morning, their carbon monoxide detector had no batteries in it.

She now wants everyone to check their carbon monixide detectors are working as it could mean the difference between life or death.

Lancashire Telegraph:

She said: "That morning we had gone to Wetherspoons for breakfast, which is unlike us, then we saw an Aldi where James popped in, and whilst in there remembered that Elliot's Ewan sheep had been used a lot recently, so he picked up some batteries for the sheep, something we normally delay doing for ages because we always begrudge the price of them.

"Then in the afternoon, James, for some reason, thought to check the carbon monoxide detector to find it had no batteries in it, he put three AA batteries in the alarm - just 12 hours later it saved our lives.

"Please make sure you have working detectors in your caravan and your house.

"Forget to take your awning, chairs, head torch, aqua roll? It’s frustrating but it won’t kill you. Forget your carbon monoxide detector and it just might."

Carbon monoxide detectors are available on Amazon for next day delivery, starting from around £15. 

Amber added: "£15 and a couple of AA’s is a small price to pay for the safety of your family.

"Carbon monoxide detector checks should be an essential part of caravan services, or even a legal requirement.

"I want them to be available to buy at a reasonable price from all local supermarkets, camping shops and campsite shops.

"We believe that the poison was due to an issue with our fridge, please see the attached picture and make sure there is no evidence of this in your caravan, or by your boiler."

A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We encourage anyone with a caravan or motorhome to make sure that they have a working carbon monoxide alarm as well as a working smoke alarm."

Lancashire Telegraph: