Tending to laundry is an everyday, almost mindless chore, more so a priority with little ones around. Consumers are often unaware of the possible dangers or risks associated with washers and dryers. With small children in the vicinity, you must be extra vigilant in making sure the little ones won’t become trapped inside the appliance. Front-loading washers and dryers, in particular, pose a safety risk for children due to the potential for accidental entrapment. Entrapment occurs when a small child climbs into an open washer or dryer and the door is closed. A sibling unaware of the hazard or an unsuspecting adult may then operate the appliance with the entrapped child. These washer and dryer accidents can include lacerations, abrasions, fractures, or even death.
Entrapment isn’t the only potential danger posed by washers. Crawling babies have opportunities to wander behind the machine and contact hot plumbing parts or pull out the drainage hose or power cord. The drainage hose pumping out hot water after a cycle can fall out of the standpipe if a baby tugs with enough strength, causing scalding injury.
UL publishes the standards for all types of household products and appliances to help mitigate risks by requiring the necessary safety systems.
One of these standards specifies the maximum amount of force needed to open doors from the inside, which allows a child to free themselves if he or she should become entrapped. Another safety measure is a built-in child lock feature on the appliance’s control panel – this requires deliberate operation and prevents a child from doing so in the event they climbed into an open door on the appliance.
Safety standards are written documents that outline the process in which a product is tested to help mitigate risk, injury or danger. UL is a standard-developing organization, combining extensive safety research, scientific expertise and uncompromising focus on quality to develop a wide variety of standards that measure and validate performance, environmental health and sustainability.