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Toddler Fell Into, Drowned in Washing Machine

The story of little Oliver Hebb is a sad one. Yet, it serves as an important reminder to parents of young children.

The boy, just 21-months-old, died late last month after he drowned in a washing machine. He liked to help his mother on laundry day, according to the Associated Press, and was allowed to climb atop a bin and toss clothes into the top-loading washer.

On that fateful day a few weeks ago, he returned to the washing machine after he and his mother went into the living room to read. When she realized he was no longer in the room, The Oregonian reports that she went looking for him. She found him unconscious and in the washing machine.

An autopsy has concluded that Oliver Hebb did, in fact, drown in the washing machine. He also suffered some injuries from the agitator, according to the paper. The lack of oxygen to his brain and the injuries were just too much for his little body to handle.

Such incidents are a rarity, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Only two children drowned in washing machines between 2005 and 2009. However, rarity does not mean precautions should not be taken.

Explain to your young children that washers -- and dryers -- are not toys. Tell them that they can help mommy and daddy with the laundry, but they can't do it themselves. And remove all climbable items from your laundry room. Do everything you can to prevent your child from drowning in a washing machine.

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