Parents of Student-Athlete, 21, Issue Warning After Carbon Monoxide Contributes to Daughter's Drowning
The parents of an Ohio student-athlete, who tragically drowned in a lake in May, are speaking out about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning after their daughter's boating accident.
Allyson "Ally" Sidloski, a soccer player at the University of Cincinnati, was just 21 years old when she died after going for a swim in a southwest Ohio lake.
NBS affiliate WLWT previously reported that Ally was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident and was seen hanging onto the swim platform of a boat before she disappeared under the water.
Ally's parents, David and Tracie Sidloski, told Today in a recent interview that they were baffled by the news at the time because Ally grew up swimming in their backyard pool.
"I was confused because Ally knew how to swim," Tracie explained. "It didn't make sense."
But a coroner later ruled Ally's cause of death as drowning with a contributing cause of carbon monoxide intoxication, according to Today.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is considered one of the leading causes of boating-related deaths each year, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2020 alone, the Coast Guard reported 15 accidents of boat-related carbon monoxide poisoning with five deaths and 41 injuries.
While boats are idling or moving at slow speeds, carbon monoxide from the boat's engine builds up around the vessel in areas near exhaust vents, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Since the gas cannot be seen or smelled, people unknowingly become exposed, suffering symptoms similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication, like headaches, nausea and fatigue, the CDC stated.
Dangerous concentrations of carbon monoxide can accumulate within seconds and cause death, despite being outdoors on the water, according to the CDC.
The information came as a shock to the Sidloskis, who told Today they were totally unaware that fatal carbon monoxide poisoning could occur on open water outdoors.
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They're now using that knowledge to warn others about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the outlet.
"We can't bring our daughter back but if we can try to save other people from having to go through this, we want to do our best to do that," Tracie told Today. "It is preventable."
Part of the action they're taking includes a lawsuit against the boat maker, Yamaha, after learning that their daughter was sitting in an area deemed unsafe for occupants, the telvision program reported.
The Sidloski family's attorney, John Uustal, who is filing the lawsuit, told Today, "This is not a problem to be solved in the owner's manual. There should not be seats in the danger zone."
When contacted by the outlet, Yamaha declined to comment and only provided a statement that read, "We do not make comments regarding current, pending or possible litigation."
A spokesperson for Yamaha did not immediately respond to PEOPLE'S request for comment.
The CDC urges all boaters to become familiar with the risks associated with carbon monoxide poisoning before taking the water. To prevent similar tragedies, the CDC encourages people to set up and test daily a battery-operated detector and schedule regular engine/exhaust system maintenance inspections.
Those who suspect they may have carbon monoxide poisoning should get fresh air and seek medical help immediately, the CDC states.