- A 3-year-old boy in Orlando has died after climbing into a front-loading washing machine.
- Florida officials are investigating the tragic incident as an accidental death and believe the child died due to lack of oxygen.
- Investigators hope the story will serve as a warning about the dangers of front-loading washers.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: A 3-year-old boy in Orlando has died after climbing into a front-loading washing machine this past weekend. Florida officials are investigating the tragic incident as an accidental death, TODAY reports.
The child, whose name has not been released, appeared to be playing with a sibling. After climbing into the machine, the door closed, creating an airtight seal and trapping him inside. “While inside the drum of the washing machine, we believe the child may have died due to a lack of oxygen,” Cory Burkarth, public information officer for the Orlando Police Department told TODAY.
Paramedics immediately performed CPR when the child was discovered, but it was too late to save him, local news outlets report. As police continue their investigation to determine exactly what happened, they hope the heartbreaking story will serve as a warning to parents—as well as their friends, family members, and babysitters—about the dangers of front-loading washers.
Unfortunately, more than 2,000 kids are seriously injured (sometimes fatally) after “reaching, climbing, or falling into washers and dryers or toppling down from them,” according to Consumer Reports. Just last summer, one mother’s story went viral on Facebook after she found her daughter trapped in a washing machine.
“When I was a kid, washers and dryers were white and they didn’t look cool. But today, washing machines come in multiple colors like red, blue, black, stainless steel and they have buttons that light up, make cool sounds, and have clear see-through windows,” Burkarth said. “So to a young child, they look like a fun piece of equipment and often will want to play on or in them.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using child-proof safety locks on front-loading washers and dryers to prevent small children from opening doors and crawling inside. Parents should also establish a rule that washers and dryers are not toys and children should not be allowed to play or hang on the doors of washers and dryers, as this can cause them to tip over.
Locking the door to your laundry room, keeping the washer door shut, taking advantage of child lock settings, shutting off the water when not in use, and keeping laundry detergent out of reach can also help keep your children safe, per Consumer Reports.
“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,” Burkarth said.
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