If you have a front-load washer, it can absolutely be dangerous to young children. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been over 3,000 children under the age of 5 admitted to the ER due to washing machine-related injuries since 2014 (and three of those resulted in death). Here's everything you need to know about the hidden dangers of your washing machine, plus how to baby-proof it to keep your kids safe.
Why front-load washers are hazardous to kids
Every parent of young children knows how they love to get into anything and everything—and that includes potentially climbing into your washing machine if you leave the door open. (One of the related deaths occurred because the toddler got trapped inside the washer.) Not only can accidental entrapment suffocate a child but there's also the risk that an unknowing adult may turn the machine on while the child is still inside.
Another danger—and one that applies to all types of washers and dryers—is that a curious toddler could crawl behind the appliance and pull out the drainage hose or power cord, resulting in burns or other injuries.
How to child-proof your washing machine
First things first: "Hire a professional," our parenting editor, Anna Lane, urges. "It’s worth every penny because they often spot hazards that parents don’t even think about."
That being said, there are also some simple steps you can take to make your washing machine more child-friendly. Keep the washer door closed when your kids are around (if you're worried about mold, you can dry out the drum and rim with a towel) and put a child safety lock on the front.
And when it comes to your laundry room in general, Anna says, "Definitely keep all of the soap/fabric softener/whatever on a high shelf so your kid can’t get to it. Things that are colorful and smell good are very tempting to little kids." Noted.