A little Oklahoma girl died last week after being electrocuted while trying to retrieve a puppy that was stuck behind her family’s clothes dryer. Authorities say she accidentally came into contact with an area of the cord that had an exposed wire, sending an electrical current through her tiny body.
Fox News reports, “The Johnston County Sheriff's Office said 4-year-old Lily Minyard came in contact with a bare spot on the electrical wire, giving her a massive shock last Wednesday.
"The office added that Lily's mother rushed her to the town hall in Ravia for help, but the girl could not be revived. She was pronounced dead at a hospital in nearby Tishomingo, southeast of Oklahoma City.”
Few details are available at this time, but an investigation is ongoing. From what authorities have been able to determine so far, there is no evidence of foul play; the incident seems to be nothing more than a tragic accident.
This is not the first time something like this has happened. In a hauntingly similar incident, a ten-year-old Texas girl was also electrocuted in July of this year when she tried to retrieve her kittens that had hidden behind her family's clothes dryer.
Experts warn parents that the laundry room should be off-limits to children. Not only is there the danger of electrocution from faulty wiring, but there is also the risk of suffocation when a child decides to climb inside (front-loaders are especially dangerous) to play hide-and-seek or to just see what it is like.
Danelle Fisher, MD, chief of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “You…want to make sure your machine is flush against the wall. Also, have your washer and dryer regularly maintained. That’s really important.” She urges parents to make sure the wires and vents are correctly adjusted and there is no exposed wiring.
And maybe most important of all, “Kids should always be taught that washers and dryers are not toys,” Fisher says. “They look like fun, and they want to try it, but laundry rooms should be an off-limits place - kids should not be playing in there.”
Please join us in offering our condolences to both of these families, and be sure to share this story with anyone you know who has small children so this type of tragedy can be prevented in the future.