They Got a New Washing Machine. The Next Day They Woke to Hysterical Crying

front loading washing machine

You know you’re a mom when you get just as excited about getting a new appliance as you used to get about purchasing an new outfit, am I right? When a new refrigerator or stove makes your heart jump for joy, that’s a sure sign you’ve finally arrived at adulthood. However, for one family, their new purchase of a front loading washing machine quickly turned to a terror they never saw coming, and mom Lindsey McIver took to Facebook to warn other parents to take serious safety precautions if there is a front loading washing machine in your home. Posting this week on July 11th, McIver says,

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. 

Let’s all agree there’s no mom-shaming on this website, okay? Freak accidents and incidents can happen to ANY of us! I personally am thankful that McIver is sharing this even though it is traumatic for her to re-live. She goes on to say that their old top loading washing machine bit the dust on a Sunday, so they went shopping for a new one and chose a front-loading washing machine. Her husband brought it home the next day. She continues:

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.”

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McIver’s children are all fairly young, the youngest two, according to her post, are just three and four years old. I don’t know about you, but I have three children and at least two out of the three of them had a strong will and curious nature when they were three and four. I called my youngest a “threenager” because he was really hard at age three, despite the fact that my husband and I have clear rules and consistent discipline for all of our kids. With that in mind, read on as McIver tells us what happened with determined kids and their front loading washing machine.

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. 

Their three year old daughter was INSIDE their new front loading washing machine, all the way down in their basement.

McIver continues:

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.

Can you imagine seeing your child tumbling around inside your front loading washing machine? I’ll be honest, friends, I am pretty high-strung and extremely empathetic and my chest is very, very tight right now just recounting this story for you. I too have a front loading washing machine, and I praise God none of my kids have ever been interested in it! We got it the year my youngest was born, and my middle was three at the time, so there was certainly plenty of opportunity.

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Based on her terrifying experience, McIver has a warning—and some instructions—for other parents.

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. 

front loading washing machine

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! 

When McIver says “I can honestly say we did not realize the danger of this machine,” I fully identify. I had thought about the dangers of my kids ingesting laundry soap or laundry pods, but never once imagined they would try and climb inside and become locked inside my washing machine. This could have easily happened in my family, or to any family.

Closing out her warning, McIver underscores again the issue of accidents and mom-shaming.

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.

I have no doubt that, as she says, Lindsey and her husband and beating themselves up enough. So let’s not add to that. But let’s DO share the warning about setting those child lock and safety settings on ANY new appliance as soon as it’s in your home, before you do anything else with it. I so appreciate Lindsey McIver for being brave enough to share her family’s story, and I hope you will share it to help other families prevent accidents, too.

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.