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Young girl asking 'why'?

When ‘just because’ is not a good enough answer

I’ve now been a parent for 8 years.

Like many new parents, I started off with the intention of improving on my own parent’s efforts and to parent in my own unique way. On the whole I’ve not done too bad, but my attempts to not turn into my own parents sometimes falls short of the mark. This resonates most with me when I hear myself saying some of the following and then cringing:

  • “Do as I say not as I do”
  • “If the wind changes your face will stick like that”
  • And the worst one of all… “Because I said so”

Kids are tiring but fantastic and they can be at their most tiring during their “why years” which is approx. ages 2 to TBC in my experience. Here’s an example from yesterday which I’ll be omitting from my Parent of The Year 2015 Submission:

“Daddy why are people called people?”

“Erm – they just are”


“Just because they are – have some chocolate”

Unfortunately over time most of lose the desire to know “why” in every little detail and we fall into the habit of following instructions without question and this can lead to us following some “best practices” which actually need a significant rethink. So I’m going to put this into a gas detection context:

  • You use nitrogen in your factory.
  • You were worried about oxygen depletion if the nitrogen were to leak.
  • You conscientiously purchased an oxygen monitor further to a risk assessment.
  • You install it indoors, near the gas storage cylinders.
  • Every 6 months you need to calibrate the oxygen monitor as per the user manual.
  • The instructions tell you that it is acceptable to expose the monitor to ambient air and “tell” the unit it is reading “20.9%”


Although fresh air contains 20.9% oxygen it doesn’t always. There are many variables and the above instruction does not take this into account. The reason you have installed an oxygen monitor in the first place is that there is a potential for a nitrogen leak.

  1. You may also be using other gases?
  2. How well ventilated is the area?
  3. How many people are in the room consuming the O2 and pumping out CO2 (and other gases!)
  4. Is there any extraction in the area?
  5. Are there any other sources of gas such as vehicles or machinery?

So when you “tell” the oxygen monitor that is has 20.9% oxygen during calibration how do you know the air is 20.9%? Well in most cases, in an indoor application the answer is that you don’t. You are making an assumption that is potentially dangerous which is why indoor O2 monitors offered by Analox recommend the use of certified calibration gases.

O2NE + monitor

O2NE + oxygen depletion monitor

Hopefully this will prove to be a useful safety tip and also remember to eat your carrots as they help you see in the dark. Well you’ve never seen a rabbit wearing glasses have you!?

Author: Simon Lunt, Director of Sales and Marketing

Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.

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