A three-year-old boy died after getting trapped in a front-loading washing machine on Sunday morning, officials said.
He was playing with a sibling, the Orlando Sentinel reports, when he somehow got inside the machine on his own.
The Orlando Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday that the boy was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
“At some point in the process, the door closed. Either he pulled it shut himself, or maybe the sibling closed it,” Cory Burkarth of the Orlando Police Department said. “That’s something we’re still looking at. And also, when that door closed, did it create an air-tight seal and deprive the child of oxygen?”
Officials are taking this as an opportunity to educate parents on how to keep their kids safe.
“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,” Burkarth said. “This message also applies to adults, friends and family members who may have children visit their house, babysitters, et cetera.”
Speaking to WESH 2, home appliance expert Jeff Jaskot of Orlando’s Aggressive Appliances had a few recommendations.
While washing machine owners can’t lock most machine doors while inoperative, it’s possible to lock the control pad so no buttons can be pressed.
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“What that does is, even if the machine is open and a child were… a pet, anything… were to crawl inside, that’s something that will keep any of the other buttons from being activated,” he said.
Alternatively, homeowners can simply make the laundry room inaccessible to their children.
While the brand and model of this particular washing machine aren’t known, there have been a few deaths related to washing machines since 2014.
In June, a two-year-old died from overheating after getting stuck in a dryer and shutting the door behind her, First Coast News reported. It’s not known if the dryer was turned on before her death.
Back in 2018, two children suffered minor injuries after getting stuck in their home’s washing machine in Montreal.
A three-year-old nearly died that same year after getting stuck in a front-loading washer in her parents’ Colorado home. Her parents managed to save her, but as in this case, not all are so fortunate.