Although jumping in your car with a portable oxygen unit is easy, there are still a few tips and guidelines that can help make your next car trip with oxygen easy and most of all, safe! Keep reading to learn our top 4 tips of using your POC in the car!
1. Do Not Leave Your Unit in the Car
One of our most important rules of advice, especially during warm months, is do not leave your concentrator in your car! Usually, the operation temperature is 0-40 ℃.High temperatures can easily damage circuitry within the unit.
Lithium Ion Batteries
Something of equal importance are the batteries inside your unit. Portable oxygen concentrator batteries are Lithium Ion, meaning high temperatures will erode the efficacy of the batteries which in turn will reduce charging ability over time. The same is true for extreme cold temperatures as well. If a concentrator is exposed to extreme conditions, it’s important that the machine return to proper operating temperature before continuing use.
Unfortunately, we often hear stories from patients about their concentrators being stolen out of their car. POCs are valuable pieces of equipment and should be taken with you, when not at home, and kept within sight. Carrying cases, backpacks, and easy rolling carts can help by comfortably keeping your concentrator within reach while not restricting your freedom.
2. Don’t Smoke!
Smoking while using oxygen is the number one cause of fire injuries and related deaths. Do not smoke, use candles, or have any other open flames in a car with an oxygen concentrator or oxygen-carrying accessories. Smoking while wearing an oxygen cannula may cause facial burns and possibly death. Make sure you do not remove your cannula and place it on any clothing, cushions, or other flammable materials while the machine is in use.
If you MUST Smoke These 3 Steps May Save Your Life
Turn off the unit.
Take off the cannula
Leave your car or the room where your oxygen device is located
3. Store Your Unit Safely
When driving, it’s best, if possible, to place the unit on the passenger side’s floor, you can also place it on the passenger side’s seat but make sure it is completely secure, buckled in, and will not move or cause distractions while driving.
Keep it Free & Clear
Be sure you do not place anything on top of the unit such as purses, blankets, or clothing. This may cause the unit to overheat. Your POC is an electronic and as such has the tendency to overheat and malfunction if its vents are blocked or covered. Keep it secure, upright, uncovered and in place at all times during driving.
4. Bring Your DC Charging Cord
Luckily, a DC power adapter charging cord is a standard included accessory among concentrators today. This power cord acts as a battery charger for internal and external batteries on most units and hooks up to your car via standard cigarette lighter.
IMPORTANT: Your vehicle should be started and running before connecting to the DC outlet! Never leave a unit plugged into the DC charger in a car that is not running. Doing so will cause the unit to continue to pull power, thus killing the battery and potentially hurting the unit.