While Their Mother Is In The Bathroom, The Children Climb Into The Refrigerator. They Had Stopped Breathing By The Time She Found Them – Women After 40

The chest freezer sat outside in the yard for several days before the children climbed in.

As reported by WGFL, three children aged 1, 4 and 6 played outside their home in Live Oak, Florida on Sunday night.

The 4-year-old’s mother watched the trio as they bounced on the trampoline and played with toys in the yard.

Two families lived in the house – the mother with her 4-year-old daughter and her friend, and the grandmother (and legal guardians) of the 6-year-old boy and his 1-year-old sister.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, at one point the mother went in to use the bathroom. Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John told the Democrat, “She was gone 10 or 15 minutes; When she came back they were gone.”

Concerned, the mother woke the grandmother and they started looking for the missing children. At first they thought the children might have gone to a vacant lot nearby. Precious time was lost before they turned their attention to the danger in their own backyard.

Grandmother had brought the chest freezer from another county and left it in the yard unplugged for four or five days.

Authorities speculate that the children may have been playing hide and seek as they lifted the lid and climbed into the freezer. To make matters worse, the freezer was fitted with a latch which would have made it impossible to open the lid from the inside.

The Suwannee Sheriff’s Department wrote on Facebook:

Upon further inspection of the freezer, a hasp had been fitted to the lid to attach a padlock to it. It is believed at this time that when the children entered the freezer and the lid was closed, the clasp fell shut and the children were trapped inside. There was no padlock on the freezer.

When the mother and grandmother finally opened the freezer, the children were trapped inside for an estimated 30 to 40 minutes. They stopped breathing. Authorities arrived to find the mother and grandmother distraught trying to revive the children.

All three were taken to the hospital but could not be revived.

Federal law requires appliances like refrigerators to be opened from the inside, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, older appliances (and modified ones, like the freezer with an additional reel) still pose a choking hazard for children. The seal not only cuts off the air flow, but also muffles a child’s cries.

The CPSC recommends keeping children away from older freezers, refrigerators, dryers, and coolers. The dangerous devices should be kept in a locked room and children should be warned not to play in them.

If you are storing or disposing of an older freezer or refrigerator, the CPSC recommends removing the door first. In some federal states this is even required by law. St. John told WJXT News that Florida law prohibits leaving a device outside the home:

“Perhaps we can inform someone who has these in their apartment – please take that into account. There is a Florida [statute] against it. Please dispose of it properly or remove the cap.”

Although no charges are currently pending against the adults in the case, the Florida Department of Children and Families has opened an investigation into the children’s deaths.

St. John told WJXT that he hopes the tragedy will remind parents of the importance of keeping an eye on young children at all times. He added:

“Words cannot describe it […] how heartbroken i am. Every time you deal with kids and stuff like that and they die from stuff like that, it just tugs at your heart. Words cannot describe this and the only thing we can do is move forward.”

https://womenafter40.com/while-their-mother-is-in-the-bathroom-the-children-climb-into-the-refrigerator-they-had-stopped-breathing-by-the-time-she-found-them/ While Their Mother Is In The Bathroom, The Children Climb Into The Refrigerator. They Had Stopped Breathing By The Time She Found Them – Women After 40

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