Entrapment can kill your child

Imagine that your children (or your child and a friend) are playing hide and seek in the house. Or imagine that a child is playing alone and wants to hide from an imaginary monster. Or imagine that your child is trying to hide from you, either to be silly or because he/she has done something wrong. What the child is looking for is a good place to hide. Some of the places that a child might choose include:

  • A toy chest
  • A cedar chest
  • The dryer
  • The oven
  • A large picnic cooler
  • An old, unused refrigerator or freezer in the basement
Hundreds of kids suffocate every year because they get caught in one of these hiding places and cannot get out -- either the lid is too heavy, or the lid has a latch on the outside with no way to release the latch from the inside. In addition, things like coolers, ovens and refrigerators are insulated, so you will not hear your child even if he/she is screaming.

These sorts of appliances and containers are not just in the home -- keep in mind the things that you have in the garage, the storge shed, the barn or the camper parked out back.

Steps you can take

  • NEVER leave a child unattended for long periods of time.

  • If your child is missing, check the hiding places listed above.

  • Remove latches that might keep lids locked shut if a child gets inside.

  • On old appliances, completely remove the doors.

  • Talk to your child about this problem and ask him/her to stay away from these situations. Most kids who die this way are between ages 4 and 7.

Additional Resources

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