'I was angry and appalled this could happen to my family'

Allison Yee
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Temperatures are dipping, and for a lot of us, that means relying on the home heater to keep us warm during the cooler months.

For Melbourne mum Vanessa Robinson, something as simple as having a heater in her home would devastatingly change her life forever after it led to the death of her two sons, Chase, eight, and Tyler, six.

The mum has issued an important warning to other parents, revealing she didn’t think anything of it when her two sons crept into her room, crying in the early hours back in May 2010.

A faulty gas heater was found to be the cause of Vanessa’s sons tragic deaths in 2010. Photo: Facebook/chaseandtyler.org.au

Believing they’d had a nightmare, Vanessa gave them a cuddle and returned to sleep – only to realise something was very wrong when she finally did wake up, an entire day later.

“I remember being in an incredible amount of pain, drifting in and out of consciousness until a constant ringing woke me,” Vanessa told Kidspot.

“I was dazed and confused and my I couldn’t move my left arm. I noticed that something was very wrong with Chase and Tyler and called the ambulance and my ex-husband.”

Vanessa shared this photo of her and Chase on what would have been his 11th birthday back in 2013. Photo: Facebook/chaseandtyler.org.au

Vanessa was rushed to hospital and placed in an induced coma, suffering from renal failure and severe nerve damage.

When she woke, it was to the heartbreaking news her two sons had passed away due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty heater in their lounge room.

“I’m thankful that I was quite unwell [at the time], as if I wasn’t I really don’t know how I would have lived through that much trauma while being fully conscious of what had happened,” she told Kidspot.

Vanessa’s grief turned to anger at how she had no idea this could happen to her family, and the brave mum has been campaigning to raise awareness over the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the importance of regularly servicing heaters and having alarms in place.

The Melbourne mum has been bravely campaigning for awareness ever since the tragedy. Photo: http://www.chaseandtyler.org.au

She set up the Chase and Tyler Foundation and now works alongside Energy Safe Victoria to try and prevent another tragedy like hers happening again.

“If I had had a device like a Nest Protect alarm installed, my children could still be alive. It would have alerted me on my phone before there was ever a problem,” she told Kidspot.

Find more information on carbon monoxide poisoning here.


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