Are Front-Loading Washing Machines Death Traps for Kids?

A 3-year-old boy from Orlando, Florida, died recently after climbing inside a front-loading washing machine.

Can front-loading washing machines turn into death traps for inquisitive children?

Since 2014, an estimated 3,000 children under the age of 5 have been rushed to the emergency room for injuries associated with front-loading washing machines, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Just last weekend, a 3-year-old boy from Orlando, Florida, died after climbing inside a front-loading washing machine.

"There was a 3-year-old playing in the laundry room with his younger sibling and, at some point, the 3-year-old climbed into the front-loading washing machine and during the process, the door became shut," Orlando Police Department spokesman Cory Burkarth told Inside Edition.

When emergency responders arrived at the home, the boy was not breathing.

"The front-loading washers are particularly attractive to kids," said Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "The doors open wide. They look like a great place to hide."

But washing machines should not be considered a toy, she added.

"The doors lock once the machine starts, and that's what they're designed to do. But once the child gets trapped inside then it becomes a really dangerous situation," she said.

Parents can take steps to prevent such tragedies. 

"The best thing you can do is engage the child lock," she said. "Every machine we've seen always has them."

She added: "A child could pull all the want. The child lock is on. ... They won't be able to play inside."