Lindsey McIver wasn’t going to share the story of her daughter’s frightening experience but thought twice when she realised it could save another child from injury or death.
Sharing to warn others
“I’ve been hesitant to write this post,” Lindsey wrote on Facebook. “First, because of the inevitable online mom-shaming that is bound to ensue; and second, because it’s just really hard to relive.”
Lindsey goes on to explain that she and her husband had bought a new washing machine after their old one had broken down. They set it up one Sunday night and promptly told their kids not to touch it.
“They all replied ‘OK.'” Lindsey wrote. The machine sat unused for two days, when things were suddenly far from OK for this traumatised family.
“Early Tuesday morning we were woken up by our four-year-old son who was crying so hard he could barely talk. As I was trying to understand what he was saying, my husband flew out of bed and down the stairs. It was then that the realisation hit. He had said: ‘Kloe. Inside. Washer.'”
“Tumbling and filling with water”
You can only imagine how these parents felt, faced with this terrifying situation in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully their son had the common sense to call for help straight away.
“By the time we reached the laundry room in the basement, my three-year-old daughter Kloe was LOCKED inside the airtight washing machine. It was tumbling and filling with water. She was screaming but you couldn’t hear her,” Lindsey explained.
Thankfully, they worked out how to stop the machine and get Kloe out safely. She was soaking wet, with a couple of bumps on her head, but otherwise mostly “fine”.
“We did not realize the danger of this machine,” a flabbergasted Lindsey admitted. “We are continually surprised at the new, inventive ways our kids come up with to try and die. And this was definitely a new one.”
I’ve been hesitant to write this post. First, because of the inevitable online mom-shaming that is bound to ensue; and…
Mum-shaming might put kids at risk of harm
Lindsey says she and her husband had a good look at their new washing machine and its manual after the incident, noting it had a child safety lock that prevents the machine being started, but that it doesn’t lock the door.
“I want to encourage anybody who has this type of front-loading washing machine and small children, or even grandkids who visit, to lock the door with a child safety lock and always keep the child lock setting on!”
The relieved mum notes that this could have been prevented, had the family read the instruction manual for their washer more carefully, but points out that accidents happen and shaming families over awful experiences such as this one could have dire consequences.
“I realize that there are ways we could’ve prevented this from happening. This is the season for swimming pool accidents and kids being left in hot cars and all sorts of other horrible accidents. And that’s what most of them are. Accidents. Shaming the mom doesn’t do anyone any good. We need to be open and honest about our mistakes to help one another keep our kids safe. And trust me, that mom is already beating herself up enough.”
Forewarned is forearmed
We so agree with Lindsey’s point and think it’s vital to encourage the sort of helpful honesty this family has displayed. Yes, they failed to see their new washing machine could be very dangerous if used the wrong way, but chances are most families would assume their kids wouldn’t climb into the washing machine and turn it on.
Experts tell us that the laundry is a no-go zone for kids, and that special attention should be paid to appliance doors.
“Door locks are available … but always leave washing machine and dryer doors shut. If possible, prevent access to the laundry altogether,” consumer watchdog Choice advises.
Many parents were grateful that Lindsey had been brave enough to share their family’s story:
“Like you said “accidents “happen!” one Facebook commenter wrote. “They even happen to those that are overly protective. Thankfully your daughter is okay. I myself appreciate your sharing your story. It might save another family from going through it themselves!”
“I have this washer,” another mum posted. “I’m going to check into the child safety lock (I presume it is the small strap on the door) and the child lock built into the machine. And don’t worry about anybody dissing you. You’ve done your neighbours a favour and maybe prevented a catastrophe.”
“Thank the good Lord your children are safe!! Thank you for sharing this important information. You may have just saved a life,” someone else wrote.
Huge thanks to Lindsey for spreading awareness of a safety hazard that lurks in many Australian homes.