There are plenty of places in the home that we know are safety hazards. And so we warn our children about being safe around them. We tell them to stay away from the stove or from cleaning products. Stairs are always something we warn them about. But what about the washing machine? Front loading washers could be deadly if we're not careful. One family is learning this the hard way after their three-year-old son was found dead in their front loading washing machine.
The boy, whose name isn't being released, climbed into the washer while playing with his sibling. According to what the Orlando Police Department believes, the door must have closed, creating an airtight seal inside the washer drum.
"We are currently investigating this tragic death as an accidental death," public information officer for the Orlando PD, Cory Burkarth tells TODAY. He adds, "... While inside the drum of the washing machine, we believe the child may have died due to a lack of oxygen."
While the police are looking into the specific model of the washer for an explanation, they're warning parents of the dangers of front loading washers. They seem like really fun places for kids to hide during a game or when they're upset. But if that door closes, they will be trapped inside.
"From a safety standpoint, this heartbreaking case should serve as a reminder to parents and adults out there about speaking to their children about the dangers of appliances," Burkarth warns. Especially as front loading machines become more popular, we can see a rise in these kind of accidents.
It's important to make sure we're talking to our kids about the dangers washers pose. In addition to suffocation fears, there are usually holes where kids can get caught. Or they can get a finger stuck. Not to mention the damage they can do to the machine itself, which could be very expensive to repair. Beside talking to your kids, taking safety measures, such as locking the laundry room door if possible. Putting some sort of barricade around the machine otherwise may be a good deterrent.
"No family should have to experience what this family is currently going through so we're asking parents to use this (as) a teaching lesson for their own children," says Burkarth.