Like everyone else in America, I followed every detail of the tragic Sharp family story.
When the family of four were reported missing last week, I worried they had been the victim of some kind of crime.
But as more news broke about the family, we learned that they were killed by something even worse: a totally avoidable accident.
This case has inspired me to take extra steps to protect my own family, and I hope all of you do the same.
What killed the Sharp family?
Prosecutors for the Mexican state of Quintana Roo now say that "asphyxiation by inhalation of toxic gases" killed the Sharps and their two children.
The family from Iowa were staying in a rented vacation home in the town of Tulum, on Mexico's sunny Yucatan Peninsula.
Authorities found the bodies of all four family members in the condo after they were reported missing by their loved ones in America.
Officials say that a water heater in the condo probably caused the leak, either because of "use or lack of maintenance."
The Silent Killer
The Sharp family's death has raised awareness about the dangers of toxic gases.
Emergency workers call these household dangers "silent killers," because they cause death in just a few hours and undetectable.
Thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to protect your family.
What kinds of household gases are dangerous?
More tests are needed to determine which gas killed the Sharp family, but it was most likely carbon monoxide.
The Centers for Disease Control says the household gas kills more than 400 Americans each year.
The gas is so deadly because it is completely colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
Even directly beside a faulty appliance, there's no way to identify the gas.
The first sign will be the symptoms it causes, including headaches, dizziness, weakness, and vomiting.
Another common gas is hydrogen sulfide, which is easier to identify.
It smells like rotten eggs, and is released by housing materials like sheet rock, or faulty batteries.
Certain household cleaners will also release deadly fumes when they're combined together.
How can I identify carbon monoxide?
The only way to detect carbon monoxide gas before its symptoms kick in is to use a special monitor.
Like fire detectors, gas monitors are affordable and easy to use.
You can even pack one in a suitcase, which is important because many vacation homes are at special risk of gas leaks.
How can I avoid gas leaks on vacation?
The Sharp family rented their condo through a vacation website which is not responsible for the home's condition.
The only person liable for their safety was the owner of the condo they rented from.
This situation is very common, so while staying in a rented property you should check with the owner that there are working gas monitors.
You can bring your own plug-in monitor in a suitcase, but there are other safety features to check for.
Keep fire safety in mind too
Along with gas monitors, your vacation home should have a fire extinguisher.
Take note: many countries have very relaxed laws about smoke detectors, so check if your property even has any.
You should also make a fire evacuation plan with your family - including a backup exit - after arriving in your rental home.
Lets all take extra precautions to avoid another tragedy like this one!
Do you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home?