A Florida family is coming to terms with the tragic reality of losing their baby boy after he got trapped inside a front load washing machine.
The tragedy has prompted local Florida police to remind parents just how dangerous their laundry rooms can be.
According to police, the three-year-old (whose name has not been released) was playing with his sibling in the laundry room of their Orlando home. Allegedly, the little boy locked himself inside the drum and was unable to get out. Police believe the child died due to lack of oxygen. It is unclear just how long the child was stuck inside.
Firefighters reportedly performed CPR on the boy and took him to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Tragedy Treated as Accidental Death
Orlando Police Department public information officer, Cory Burkarth explained that they are currently investigating this tragic death as an accidental death.
He also issued a plea to all parents:
We also ask that parents speak with their children and teach them that washers, dryers and other appliances are not toys and should not be played with. This message also applies to adults/friends/family members who may have children visit their house, babysitters, etc.”
Third Washing Machine Related Death in Five Years
This isn’t the first time a child has died after crawling into a front loader. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this is the third washing machine-related death among children five and under since 2014.
The agency also estimates that since 2014, there have been about 3,000 emergency-room-treated washer-associated injuries among children five and under. Most of the cases were related to falls. Just last year we shared a story of a little girl who got trapped in a washing machine as it turned on.
Front Loader Washing Machine Safety Tips
Children are curious. It’s their natural instinct to explore. In a child’s eyes, a front load washing machine is a perfect cubby/space ship/time machine. It’s up to us parents to explain to them that this is not the case.
According to Consumer Reports, there are a few things parents can do to ensure this type of tragedy never happens in their homes:
Lock the door to your laundry room. Ensure your children understand that the laundry room is not a play area.
Keep the washer door shut. This not only keeps curious children out but also helps prevent mould.
Use the washer’s lock-out feature. Check your manual to find out how to do this with your model.
Use a childproof safety lock. This adds another level of prevention. Use one for your dryer too.
Shut off the water. When your washer is not in use, turn off the water valve that feeds it. Most front-loading washers will stop running and show an error code if the water is off.
Store laundry powder safely. Keep laundry pods and powders hidden out of sight from young children.
We’re often reminded of the safety dangers surrounding stovetops, ovens and swimming pools. But the laundry room can also be incredibly dangerous for unsupervised children. This little boy’s recent death is a stark reminder of this.
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