I always vent our TT. Open the window over the kitchen sink 1/2 to 1 inch, and leave the vent fan open over the bathroom about an inch. Biggest reason is to have fresh air in the camper (family of four), but it also cuts down on condensation. As to CO my camper has a CO detector that I check regularly, but I don't fully trust detectors, I've seen too many fail.
By the way, good job to your Dad! Being concerned about CO back then seems unusual and very smart.
We leave the vent open in the bathroom while camping in spring and summer, we have a maxair cover to keep out rain and fresh air is always nice here in the Mountains of Va.
It certainly CAN be a real and very dangerous threat but only if your equipment is not functioning correctly. If the water heater seal is not intact and allows combustion fumes to enter the living area you could have a problem. If your heat exchanger is compromised, you certainly could have a problem. If you use fueled heaters inside the living areas and they are not working properly you have a very serious threat. If you park in some of those RV Parking lots where RVs are jammed close together and someone is running their generator right outside an open window you could EASILY have a problem. Lots of ways you could have a CO problem in a travel trailer or any OTHER type of RV. A CO detector is a great safety device but I sure wouldn't hang my hat solely on it working correctly. Keep your equipment properly maintained and used AND have a functioning CO detector.
2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR - 2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles) 2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer
US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population
Built-in RV heaters are SAFE, when in good working order and used as instructed. TWO CO detectors will make this even SAFER.
CO (Carbon Monoxide) degrades quickly when mixed in free air. But unless it mixes it will stay deadly, and you can't smell it. This is why an enclosed RV is ALWAYS a concern, no matter how safe the heating system is.
As mentioned, when camping in extreme crowds, or in areas blocked by snow banks or buildings, the risks from CO poisoning goes WAY UP. Your heater vents to the outside, but what if the side is blocked by another RV and the easiest path for the fumes is back in through an open vent? Unfortunately that is a real-world situation.
I also hear reports of CO deaths pretty much every year. Unattended gennie use overnight is a big cause, but misuse of portable heaters seems to be as big a risk or worse. The built-in heater has been field-tested for safety by many customers, while a quickly-rigged portable heater setup will be tested solely by you that night.
Bob, please consider how very much air is mixing with the stove fumes inside your house, compared to how little is mixing in an enclosed RV. If you'd like to see the truth behind your sarcastic remark, the Feds do keep statistics of people who die in thier homes from misuse of gas heaters and, IIRC, even gas stoves.