Washing Machine Danger: Who Watches the Washing Machine?
They say imitation is the best form of flattery. It is also said that children learn by example. So when your child sees you putting clothes in the washing machine, their curious minds are naturally piqued. Unfortunately, what seems like a simple household chore can turn into a dangerous hazard right inside your own home.
A washing machine can be deceptively unsafe when little children are around. In today’s Child Safety Store blog post, let’s take a look at the dangers caused by this appliance and how you can avoid them.
A Household Danger
When a child sees their parents interacting with appliances, it isn’t uncommon for them to be curious and interested enough to want to try it themselves. This is how they can get themselves into trouble. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been at least three washing machine-related deaths of children who are five years of age and younger since 2014. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact that there have been about 3,000 emergency room visits having to do with washing machines.
Washing Machine Injuries
Kids can get inventive, so there isn’t one single way for them to get hurt. In fact, there are several common ways children can get themselves into trouble when it comes to washing machines.
- Falling – Of the 3,000-or-so washing machine related emergency room visits mentioned above, the majority of those visits were due of falls. Take note of what items surround your machine and avoid placing anything next to it that can help a child climb to the top of the machine.
- Getting trapped inside – Children can easily find their way inside the washer. It can happen easily enough, simply by paying or being curious. This is particularly the case with front-loading washers, which have doors that are closer to the floor and are more easily accessible to children. It’s scary, but true. This can result in suffocation due to a lack of oxygen or even, if the machine is on, drowning. To make matters worse, often the door is thick enough that you won’t be able to hear cries for help.
Keep Your Child Safe Around Washing Machines
While we can’t safe-proof our children, we certainly can safe-proof our appliances. There have been reports on both front and top loading machines, so no matter which type you own, you’ll want to take proper precautions to avoid injury.
Talk to your child. First things first: make sure they are aware that playtime should never include the washing machine. Of course, it would be nice if we said things once and our children automatically listened, but this is often not the case. Even when you talk to your kids about the dangers of the washing machine, but sure to implement some, if not all, of the following additional tips.
Prevent access to your laundry room. Make it difficult for your child to access the washing machine to begin with. Make sure the washer/dryer is always in a separate laundry room area, and then keep that area locked.
Lock the Machine. The next best thing to preventing your child from entering the laundry room is to keep the appliance locked so that they can’t get into it. There are several ways to do this:
First thing’s first, research your washer’s features. Many machines have special child-lock settings that are worth using. Be sure to read about how your particular machine’s child-lock feature works, as they differ between brands and models. Some lock-out prevents the door from opening at all, while others prevent the machine from turning on while the door remains functional.
Regardless of your machine’s safety features, you can take a proactive approach to avoiding injury by placing your own child-proofing lock on your washing machine. In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about similar locks that keep cabinet doors from opening. This is this the same concept.
Two safety locks include:
- A Safety 1st Custom Fit All Purpose Strap simply connects to your washer with an adhesive attachment method and snaps closed at your desired length. This particular strap comes in a two-pack option as well, so it would be most efficient to place a lock on your dryer as well.
- The Safety 1st Multi-Purpose Appliance Lock helps to keep children from accessing potentially dangerous appliances. This customizable strap adjusts to fit your specific appliance. It attaches easily and keeps the item locked up tight with a small adjustable lock. This lock also has a two-pack option.