A three-year-old toddler’s rescue by firefighters brought a smile to mothers around the world today. Dave Masters, in a report for The Sun, says that a tiny girl in the eastern Shandong province of China got herself wedged so thoroughly in the family’s washing machine that she couldn’t get out.
Her mother was forced to call the firefighters, who were probably surprised to find that the toddler couldn’t simply be lifted free. In the end, the resourceful rescue workers distracted the little girl with candy so that the firefighters could cut her out with power tools.
The unnamed mother confessed that she’d allowed the child to play in the washing machine in the past — clearly, not a good idea.
Last year, a playful father in Camden, New Jersey, put his child in a commercial machine at a public laundromat and then panicked when he realized that he couldn’t open the door without help. In that case, the child survived with minor bruises, but there have been several other reports of small toddlers who died after somehow getting into washing machines.
For example, in 2011, an abusive French father killed his three-year-old son by deliberately putting him through the wash cycle.
The National Institutes of Health note that washing machine accidents are rare. In a multi-year study, they found only two child deaths — and one of them was caused by the machine falling on the toddler, not by the toddler actually getting into the machine. The study suggested, “Consumers should demand that manufacturers create better safety features based on injury data.” One simple safety feature would be to design the machine so that it can’t fill with water or start to spin until the lid is locked and closed.
Another, even simpler safety feature might be the use of some common sense. Having firefighters rescue your toddler because she’s gotten so big that she has to be cut out of a washing machine is just embarrassing. A younger or smaller child could have drowned.
But this story has a happy ending. Watch the heartwarming video of the toddler’s rescue here: