Just a Gentle Reminder, Boys and Girls: Stay Out of Appliances

Filed under: In The News

Climbing inside a household appliance always seems like a good idea at the time.

CBS News reports a 3-year-old got stuck inside the 15-inch wide drum of a washing machine, and it took rescuers at least an hour to free him.

Then there's the YouTube video of a teenage girl trying to get out of a dryer. It doesn't help that she's drunk.

If you don't want family and friends to remember you as the adolescent idiot who died after getting drunk and climbing inside an appliance, officials at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) have some tips.

Well, actually, they only have one: Don't get drunk and climb inside an appliance. It's stupid.

Small children are naturally dumber than posts, and unable to heed this wisdom. Therefore, it is up to people slightly older (and hopefully slightly smarter) to protect them.

On their website, CPSC officials say they receive reports of numerous suffocation deaths involving children who crawled inside latch-type freezers, washers, dryers, picnic coolers, ice boxes in campers and old-style, latch-type refrigerators.

Most of the victims are not drunk teens -- they're children ages 4 to 7.

"In all cases, the doors could not be easily pushed open from the inside," commission officials state in a warning. "In some of the incidents associated with clothes dryers, the appliance was accidentally turned on while the child was inside."

Frequently, as CBS News reports might have been the case in China, the children are playing hide-and-seek.

For the past 40 years, the Federal Refrigerator Safety Act has required that refrigerators be capable of being opened from the inside. Since then, manufacturers of various other appliances have voluntarily redesigned their products to provide safety doors.

However, not all appliances have these safety features.

The CPSC recommends you:

  • Identify appliances or ice chests in your house, garage or vehicles that may present an entrapment hazard.
  • Childproof old-style refrigerators and other appliances, which are to be discarded or are in storage. The surest method is to take off the door completely.
  • Keep children away from old-style refrigerators, freezers, dryers or coolers that are still in use. Lock the door to your utility room and warn children not to play inside these appliances.
  • If a child is missing, these appliances and picnic coolers should be among the first places checked. A few minutes may save the child's life, officials say.
And above all, don't get drunk and climb inside an appliance. That cannot be stressed strongly enough.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.