A Colorado mother recently recalled the terrifying moment her young daughter became trapped in their new washing machine. Lindsey McIver detailed the traumatic incident in a lengthy Facebook post, both to raise awareness of the dangers of “front-loading” machines and to condemn the damaging practice of “mom-shaming.”
“I’ve been hesitant to write this post. First, because of the inevitable online mom-shaming that is bound to ensue; and second, because it’s just really hard to re-live,” she wrote in her post, which has been shared 300,000 times.
“On Sunday our washing machine broke down,” she continued. “On Monday my husband went to Lowe’s and purchased this new front load washing machine. We thought it was the ‘new and cool’ type of washing machine and didn’t think anything of it. We spent that evening installing it with the kids underfoot. We told them several times that they were not to touch it. They all replied ‘OK.'”
But shortly after this, McIver explained, everything went horribly wrong when she and her husband heard their 4-year-old son crying inconsolably:
“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 realization hit. He had said: Kloe. Inside. Washer.
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.
We were able to quickly stop it and unlock the door and get her out. Aside from a couple of small bumps on her head and wet clothes, she was fine.
After going through all the ‘what if‘s’ and ‘could have’s’ we know we are very blessed and God had mercy on our sweet daughter.”
McIver thought twice about sharing her experience publicly, but she decided that other parents needed to know the innate dangers of these machines, and was determined not to let any accusers stop her from helping others.
“I post this because I can honestly say we did not realize the danger of this machine. 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,” she wrote.
“I took this picture after we secured the door shut with a child safety lock. We also found a child lock feature on the settings that, as long as it is engaged, will not allow the washing machine to start. But it does not lock the door. We hadn’t even used the machine yet so we hadn’t looked at any of the settings. Also, it obviously took two curious kids to pull this off. 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!
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.”
Remember, no parent is perfect. When we make mistakes, let’s encourage and advise in other in love, and never resort to shaming.
Today’s Parent gives a few excellent safety tips to ensure your child’s wellbeing in the laundry room:
“Once your baby’s a pro crawler, she can quickly hustle into tight spaces, like behind a washing machine or between the washer and dryer,” reads one tip. “Not only could she get stuck behind the machine, she could tamper with the power plug or pull out the drainage or water hose, which could cause burns if you’re running a hot cycle in the wash. Check your manual to find out how much clearance your machine needs on the sides and at the back, and stick as close to that as possible.”
“Keeping kids out of the laundry room is the best way to keep kids safe when you’re not doing laundry,” reads another. “An inexpensive child safety lock or doorknob cover can prevent them from wandering into the room and getting into trouble. It’s also a good idea to make a house rule that the laundry room is off limits for anything other than doing laundry—and especially playing hide-and-seek.”