Children & pets dying in washing machines and tumble dryers

Cat-asleep-washing-machine I keep hearing about children getting trapped inside washing machines or tumble dryers. It’s a serious issue and something many of us might never even think of but a little awareness could prevent a tragedy.

A quick search on Google for the following phrases shows very distressing headlines and gives a good idea of the potential dangers – child dies in washing machine | child dies in tumble dryer. The amount of results on these searches is quite staggering and distressing.


Don’t leave these appliances plugged in

Bear in mind that appliances left permanently plugged in (as many are) can be started up by children playing if one gets inside and another closes the door. When buying a new washing machine some have child locks on the doors or electronic child locks that can disable the machine with a specific set of button presses (check your instruction book).

So if you ever have children at your house you should consider making sure your new washing machine has a child safety lock – and make sure you always use it.

Alternatively make sure you always switch the appliance off at the socket so it can’t be operated and never just open a door, throw things in and start it up – always look inside the drum first.

It’s possible for a small child to hide inside some appliances and even when aware of your presence a small child might think it’s a game to keep quite and stay hidden.

Pets inside Appliances

Let’s not forget our pets too, as many of them have died or gone through a traumatic experience when they’ve crept inside such an appliance and owners have just thrown items inside and started them up.


A BBC news report about a lovely tabby kitten who survived a 10 minute wash in a washing machine ( Kitten’s washing machine ordeal ) reminded me of an incident I encountered as a repairman some years back.

I was once called to a customer who’s dog had nearly died when it chewed through the rubber gas pipe supplying the gas cooker. She’d arrived home to the smell of gas and found her beloved dog unconscious in the kitchen. She rushed him to the vet where he fortunately made a full recovery.

However, within a week the dog chewed through the replacement and gassed himself again. Pets and white goods don’t mix. The customer was lucky the dog survived, but even luckier that the house didn’t blow up.

Here’s another cat incident reported here – Kitten survives hour in Aberdeen washing machine spin.


The cats in these news stories are lucky that modern washing machines hardly use any water on wash these days. 10 years or more ago they would have almost certainly drowned.

Don’t leave Pets Locked in a Room with an Appliance Running

Finally. Pets can be traumatised, injured or killed by a rogue appliance so don’t leave them locked in a room with one running. Many pets have died in fires started by dishwashers, washing machines or tumble dryers.

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