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5-year-old boy dies after getting locked in washer dryer

40 Comments

A 5-year-old boy suffocated to death after apparently getting locked in a washer dryer at his family's apartment in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, police said Sunday.

According to police, the boy was found unconscious in the drum of the front loader machine by his father at around 3 p.m. Saturday, Fuji TV reported. His father called 119 and the boy was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police believe the boy got into the washer dryer, which is one meter tall, 70 cms wide and 60 cms deep, and the door shut, locking him in. The door cannot be opened from the inside. There was no water in the machine.

Police said the boy’s mother was out at the time and his father was taking a nap with his son. When the father woke up, he couldn’t locate his son and looked for him before finding him in the washer dryer.

A 7-year-old boy died in Tokyo in a similar accident in 2015 and there have been calls made for manufacturers  to prevent the door from locking automatically when it is closed.

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40 Comments
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Wow! Tragic! However, the father should not have been napping with children in his care.

-38 ( +1 / -39 )

What a sad story and a horrible way to go. Poor boy.

The father was asleep, no doubt catching up on his sleep after late nights working all week. The mother probably thought it was safe to go out and leave the boy at home because the father was there. But a sleeping father cannot look after a child. If you are asleep you may as well not be there.

-28 ( +1 / -29 )

How feasible is it for the door to be fully closed by someone on the inside?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Albaleo - How feasible is it for the door to be fully closed by someone on the inside

That depends if it was a front or top loading machine. The door locks shut very easily on a top loading machine.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

No way could he close the door from the inside.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Oh my god! How awful!

A 7-year-old boy died in Tokyo in a similar accident in 2015 and there have been calls made for manufacturers to prevent the door from locking automatically when it is closed.

Those calls had better turn into shouts and demands soon

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Why are people blaming the father? Where else is a man supposed to sleep but at home??? A 5 year old does not require constant supervision.

23 ( +29 / -6 )

 A 5 year old does not require constant supervision.

Um, the fact the kid is now dead proves your statement to be wrong. If you sent your kids to a daycare center and the staff were sleeping, how would you feel about it? This is no different. The father should not have been napping with kids in his care. It is very irresponsible.

-30 ( +5 / -35 )

Some of you seem to have missed this part: “father was taking a nap WITH his son”. TV reports the father said they were taking a nap —-together—- after he had fed the son lunch. By your logic, parents would not be allowed to sleep at night either.

30 ( +32 / -2 )

Times like this i am glad i dont need to take naps

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

I also don’t blame dad. I don’t blame the poor kid—Kids that age like to hide and a front-loading washing machine would be tempting.

I'm shocked that washing machines are so airtight that a child would suffocate.

It sounds like a totally tragic freak accident.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Educator has it correct. It is a completely logical answer.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Interested to see the model and how it would turn on by itself?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Strange, in Canada a top loading washing machine doesn't lock. Why would it have to lock at all?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Tom, thanks. Unless the father is lying, this is just a tragic accident. We also don’t have any information as to the age of the washer. Even if ones that won’t lock automatically are available (I’m not sure if any manufacturers are actually making them) not everyone can afford to replace such an item. There is also a lack of awareness. It would be good if the door could be somehow locked so a child can not get into the washer.

Prime81Today  08:48 am JST

“Interested to see the model and how it would turn on by itself?”

TV news said it was a front loader. Anyway it didn’t turn itself on. It wasn’t revolving (there were no injuries on the poor child), it seems it’s just that he suffocated from lack of air with the door shut.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Thank you, Educator (and Tom for supporting him) to say that adults should not nap with their children as that would mean that they should not sleep at night either.

Likely the little lad woke before his father, didn't rouse him and went off to play around in the house. He probably thought it would be cool to climb into the machine.

I remember indulging my curiosity in similar ways at age 5. My mother who was heavily pregnant with a risky pregnancy often had to stay off her feet. We had no sofa, so she lay on the bed while I played in the same room. Sometimes we also napped together.

On those occasions when she slept and I awoke, I recall getting a chair and climbing on the counter top to look in the cupboards. I could have fallen off and broken limbs or my neck. I also used to chow down a few Baby Aspirins while I was up there. They had a very nice flavor that I quite liked. That, too, could have done me harm.

I don't believe that people would be in favour of tethering children during those periods when the adults and children sleep together. Short of doing so, there's no way to ensure that everyone wakes up together. It would hamper escape during fire or disaster.

Alas, deaths are not always preventable, but some means of locking and opening washer/dryer doors from the outside only, might be a good idea since there has been more than one death.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Interested to see the model and how it would turn on by itself?

Where did it say it turned on by itself?

It sounds like a totally tragic freak accident.

Same here. I wonder if it was a toploader or frontloader. I thought frontloaders need quite a push to luck the door. Top loaders have 2 lids but even the upper lid shouldnt be too hard to open from the inside. Again, this sounds like a freak accident.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I own a front loading washing machine and I can assure you that it can and does swing shut on it's own. It's somewhat annoying when I'm trying to load the machine sometimes as I turn to get more laundry I find the door has swung shut. I never thought about it but these machines are indeed airtight since they do fill up with water and slosh the clothes around quite a bit. You don't want water spilling out all over the place.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Kids always get into things no matter how closely you watch them. I’m sure the millennials find this hard to fathom, especially being raised by helicopter parents. Children die sometimes by straying away from their parents. I guess now in this world we want to police everything and even if they change the washers, there will still be deaths caused by something else. It was an accident, move on and stop calling for the father’s head.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got stuck.in.an.old fridge for 3hours when i was a kid. Now i break the hinges on all old discarded fridged dumped in japanese countryside or green spsces.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Poor father. He has to live with that. He’ll blame himself until the day he passes, and it wasn’t his fault. I hope he gets help. Rebuilds a family with his wife. RIP kid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The father should not have been napping with kids in his care. It is very irresponsible.

Napping in the daytime, sleeping at night, it is all the same. With your thinking, I guess I should sit by the bed all night watching the kids sleep just in case they make a false move.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

It seems to me that everyone blaming the father for having a nap with his 5yo son (and I truly hope that was indeed the case) either don’t have children, are fathers with super wives who are with the children 24/7 regardless or you have had matchsticks surgically implanted under your eyelids to keep your eyes open 24/7 and or...you are self deluding.

Can’t wait to see the comments that follow about how these super parents who leap over buildings in a single bound and who also keep vigil over their sleeping 5yo children every time they close their eyes.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I’m loving all the negative votes for stating the father was irresponsible. Now, it is clear that it was a front loading washer. It’s not easy to get inside a front loading washer and close the door.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

most front loading washer-dryers have a latch locking system, so the machine doesn't have to be "on" in order for the door to lock. all you need to do is give it a strong nudge and the door will lock. i'm sure the kid was just goofing around and wanted to play a trick on his dad, thinking that the dad would wake up soon and get him out. such a tragic incident.

practically all new front loading machines nowadays have a child-proof switch to lock the door so that kids can't open it. so i'm not sure what else manufacturers can do to solve this problem.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

What a horrible freak accident...there but for the grace of Yahweh go all parents.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Trying to give a plus vote to Autumn Fae but although the button depresses it does not register, even after refreshing the page. All other votes have worked fine. (This quite often happens on JT.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hmmm... desperately sad.

What kind of inner opener could the manufacturers install? It would have to be something that definitely does not activate when hit with revolving laundry. A smooth round red alarm button right in the middle of the front window?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

why not make child safe locks mandatory on outside of washer like they do with balcony doors

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Product liability case. Defect in design resulting in death. Any warning labels on these machines?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Strange, in Canada a top loading washing machine doesn't lock. Why would it have to lock at all?

There is child lock mechanism in Japanese washers. It’s designed to lock children out of the machines. They didn’t think of a scenario where a kid is locked in and a sibling is too young to unlock it it in this case, the supervising adult might be taking a nap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yomiuri has just come out with an article that says the washing machine had a child lock on the door, but that they hadn’t used it. Details, such as when they got that type of washer, whether they had never used the lock or had but only when the child was younger, etc were lacking.

So with the washer they had, this death maybe could have been prevented (at around what age do kids become able to open the child proof locks?).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The father should not have been napping with kids in his care. It is very irresponsible.

That's only true in the eyes of people of rejoice in calling names add looking for someone to blame. The article clearly says they were napping together.

And those saying that's impossible to lock the door from inside, search on the web. It has happened a lot more times than it should. Even in (older) refrigerators.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sleep can creep up on you without you even being aware of it. People fall asleep on the train, at work...IN THEIR CAR!!

It can happen in the home too. One minute you are reading a book, watching the TV, then...ZZZZZZZZ

Folk on here saying the dad is somehow at fault obviously don't have any kids. Young ones more so. They take it out of you.

When are parents supposed to sleep? We assume the home is a safe haven. it ain't.

You gotta keep an eye on your kids!!

But as I said...it creeps up on you.

Poor Dad

Poor Mum

Poor Kid

Just a very very sad accident that will live with this father for the rest of his days.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not just washing machines! Cars too! Every year, hundreds of children get locked up inside cars and eventually die due to heat strokes and suffocation in the period May-October. Machine designers must add 'children' as a design parameter. If a child dies, he/she is not a number but a soul and a member of a loving family. Children lives matter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is the question of the day. Why do washing machines lock in Japan? Are clothes jumping out randomly? Is it embarrassing to see clothes in mid wash and half clean?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sad. ..rip..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shogun,

”That is the question of the day. Why do washing machines lock in Japan?”

Even decades ago my family’s front loader washer in the USA locked during the cycle to prevent leakage and accidents. When the cycle finished, there was a short wait until it automatically turned off the lock function and the door could be opened. And it was the old dials on the back as opposed to modern electronic buttons on the front panel type.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yomiuri has just come out with an article that says the washing machine had a child lock on the door, but that they hadn’t used it. Details, such as when they got that type of washer, whether they had never used the lock or had but only when the child was younger, etc were lacking.

Thanks. The NHK article only said that the lock wasn't used which was obvious but didn't clarify why and by whom. It sounds like the same thing that happened in the Tokyo case a few years ago where the mother hadn't switched it on because she didn't know about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I still cannot see how a 110cm tall boy could fix himself in and close the door.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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