As a parent of young children, you probably spend a great deal of time in the laundry room, often with a child in tow. With its big, noisy machines and colorful bottles of products, it may seem like a great big playland to a child. While we want children to learn all about laundry, there are precautions that should be taken to keep them safe.
To a child, a clothes washer is just a big container filled with water - a great place to play. However, a small child can drown in as little as one or two inches of water. They are top heavy and don't have the strength to pull themselves back up and out of appliances. Investing in childproof locks is a simple way to insure their safety and your piece of mind. Locks are especially important for front-loading washers that look like a great place to crawl into to play.
For maximum safety, unplug washers and dryers when not in use. A child was killed after being trapped inside a front-loader when her sibling accidentally closed the door and pressed a button to start the machine.
Store Laundry Products Safely
All laundry products should be stored in a locked or childproofed cabinet. Bleach, stain removers, even detergent can be toxic if consumed. Always sweep or wipe up any products that spill onto the machines or the floor.
Liquid capsules or soft pacs of detergent are particularly dangerous. If they are punctured, the product often squirts into the eyes of children and can cause corneal burns.
Some chemicals - like chlorine bleach and ammonia - when combined form toxic fumes even if the child does not consume the products. Never leave anything within reach.
Ironing should not be done when a child is close by. Just one bump to the ironing board can bring a heavy, hot appliance down on a little body. Never leave a hot iron sitting on an ironing board unattended or even one plugged in at all times. A cordless iron with automatic cut-off is an excellent choice. The safest ironing board is a built-in with a locking cabinet.
Laundry Chute Safety
Sliding down the laundry chute in the movies looks like great fun but it isn't a good idea. Bodies can get stuck and landings can be hard. Laundry chutes should have childproof locks at every access point.
Unless you are able to supervise your child in the laundry room at all times, the laundry door or access to the machines should be locked or equipped with a door knob protector that little fingers can't open.
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