It's a hidden danger most parents don’t think about, but recent incidents of children and pets climbing into the washing machine and getting themselves stuck have led to calls for vigilance around the appliances.
Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab at Good Housekeeping, says the washer is appealing to tots.
"The front-loading washers are particularly attractive to kids," she told Inside Edition. "The doors open wide. ... They look like a great place to hide."
Allan and Lindsey McIver bought a new washer and say their daughter got trapped inside their front-load washing machine.
"I yanked on the door," Allan McIver said in an interview with "Good Morning America." "I pulled so hard, I moved the machine from the wall, but it's locked. You can't get it open."
Luckily, their daughter survived with minor scrapes and bruises after the couple was able to stop the machine and get their daughter out.
"The doors lock once the machine starts," Forte said. "That’s what they're designed to do, but once the child gets trapped inside then it becomes a really dangerous situation."
A post on Facebook has been shared more than 350,000 times as of Friday.
"By the time we reached the laundry room in the basement, my three-year-old daughter Khloe was locked inside the airtight washing machine,” the post reads. “It was tumbling and filling with water. She was screaming but you couldn't hear her."
Forte is now offering safety tips on what to do if you find a child stuck in the washing machine.
“If a child is stuck inside, just push the pause button, turn the machine off and the door will automatically open," she said.
She also notes that with washing machines, there is generally a tab that says “child lock” and she recommends engaging it. Forte showed Inside Edition how it works.
"So now when this machine is off, should a child come up it, this door is locked they can't open it, they won't be able to get," she said.
Experts note that it's rare for a child to become trapped inside a washing machine.