She tried to understand what he was saying, but she couldn’t make it out amidst his wails. It was early in the morning and she was barely awake. Perhaps her son had had a nightmare, she thought. But when she saw her husband jump out of bed and dart out of the room, she knew something was wrong. Then, finally, she could hear her son loud and clear. And what he said jolted her wide awake.
That was definitely not how Lindsey and Alan McIver expected their day to start. And it had all begun a couple of days earlier, on a quiet and sleepy Sunday. Lindsey went down to the laundry room in the basement to do her weekly laundry routine. She separated the dirty clothes and put the first load in the washing machine. Then she pressed start - but nothing happened. It looked like the machine had broken down.
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Lindsey called Alan to come help her out, and together they tried to figure out what was wrong with the machine. But no matter how much troubleshooting they did, the washer just wouldn’t start. They thought about calling an electrician, but it was a Sunday. Plus, admittedly, their machine was already quite old. So, after talking and doing some online searches, they decided to get a new washer. They had no idea what they were in for.
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The next day, after work, Alan stopped at Lowe’s and bought a new washing machine. When he brought it home, Lindsey was impressed. It was a front-load washer, which they’d never had before. It looked sleek and modern. “We thought it was the “new and cool” type of washing machine,” remembers Lindsey. After dinner, she and Alan spent the evening down in the laundry room installing the washer. But they had an unexpectedly curious audience.
Lindsey and Alan have three young kids - two girls and one boy. Although they’re relatively well-behaved, they are still a handful. Especially because they’re at an age when they want to try out everything. So the McIvers always make a point to explain to them why they shouldn’t do something. That day, all three kids were curiously watching as their parents assembled the machine. “We told them several times that they were not to touch it. They all replied “OK”,” says Lindsey. But did they truly understand?
After they finished installing the washer, they all went to bed, as it was too late to start a load of laundry. The next morning, before their alarms had even gone off, Lindsey and Alan were awoken by a strange sound. As Lindsey slowly opened her eyes and tried to get her bearings, she realized it was her four-year-old son, sobbing. He was also trying to tell them something, but they couldn’t understand a word he was saying. They were both puzzled.
Although he was at that age when nightmares are common, it wasn’t like their son to wake up scared and crying. So Lindsey and Alan tried to decipher what he was saying, knowing something must be wrong. Then, in a fraction of a second, Alan jumped out of bed and bolted out the door. Lindsey was left scratching her head until she heard three words that made her turn her attention back to her son: “Kloe. Inside. Washer.”
Lindsey followed her husband out of the bedroom and down the stairs to the basement. As soon as they were inside the laundry room, they saw their worst nightmare coming to life: their 3-year-old daughter, Kloe, was inside the washer - and the door was locked. Somehow, the kids had managed to get the machine started, so the toddler was tumbling inside as it filled up with water. “She was screaming but you couldn’t hear her,” remembers Lindsey. They had to move fast.
The McIvers rushed to push the stop button and unlock the washer’s door. Water spilled onto the floor as the couple pulled their scared, crying daughter out of the machine. Her pajamas were wet, her hair was in disarray, and she had a few bumps on her head from all the tumbling. But she was fine. That said, it was a big lesson for Lindsey and Alan.
This incident was a big eye-opener for the McIvers. It made them realize that, no matter how mature they may think their kids are, they are young and their curiosity can still get the better of them. “We are continually surprised at the new, inventive ways our kids come up with to try and die,” said Lindsey. “And this was definitely a new one.” That said, they also need to be more wary of the things they bring into their house.
“I can honestly say we did not realize the danger of this machine,” said Lindsey. The washer had been in their house less than 24 hours, they hadn’t even read the user manual yet, and had no idea their kids would be able to get into the machine and start it with such ease. After doing some digging, they realized how they could have prevented it.
Lindsey and Alan went through the washer’s settings and found a child lock feature that, when activated, will not allow the machine to start. However, it doesn’t lock the door, so a kid could still get inside and lock themselves in. The McIvers weren’t about to take that risk again, so they bought a child safety lock for the washer’s door. And, after counting her blessings that her child was unharmed, Lindsey decided she had to do more.
Despite feeling guilty for not child-proofing the washing machine sooner, Lindsey decided to make the incident public in order to warn other parents. “I want to encourage anybody who has this type of front-loading washing machine and small children, or even grandkids who visit, to lock the door with a child safety lock and always keep the child lock setting on!” And she didn’t stop there.
Lindsey also decided to use her post to make a plea against shaming other moms who are unable to prevent their kids’ accidents. “That’s what most of them are,” she wrote. “Accidents. Shaming the mom doesn’t do anyone any good. We need to be open and honest about our mistakes to help one another keep our kids safe. And trust me, that mom is already beating herself up enough.” Thankfully, her post was met with a positive response.
Lindsey’s post was soon flooded with comments, mostly from other moms thankful that she took the time to warn about this danger. “I thank you so much for sharing, I was thinking about getting one of these and I had no idea they even had control locks, nor did I think about my baby climbing inside,” wrote a woman named Crystal Deniece. We are sure many kids out there are now safer thanks to Lindsey sharing her story.