Skip to main content

Your washing machine is more dangerous than you think

Here's what you need to know.

Washer Credit: Grady Reese/Getty Images

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

There are a lot of things you know you should keep your kids away from: matches, hot stovetops, fireplaces, dressers that could topple over. But what about your washing machine?

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

Washing Machine
Credit: Jacoblund/Getty Images

Laundry rooms and kids don't always mix well.

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

Credit: Uchar/Getty Images

Don't let your kids in the laundry room without supervision.

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.

Related content