Monday, September 23, 2013

Two Toddlers Died in Haier Washer Accident

Two sisters of four year old and two year old died in a washer accident on September 21 in Qiaoshe Township, Xinjian County, Nanchang of Jiangxi Province.

When reporter came to visit, they saw a small chair placed in front of the washer. It was believed that the two sisters climbed in the washer using the chair, and closed the lid. They managed to start the washer and were killed. At the time, the father was watching TV in bedroom, and the mother was cooking in the kitchen. The washer was on the balcony. The washer had already been cleaned, but blood stain could still be seen on inner tube.

A witness who helped transported the kids to a local hospital portrayed a horrific scene, "the washer was filled with blood".

After the incident, the two sisters were buried on the same day. The parents moved back to their old house in the country with their third child, a one year old son.

The local government expressed condolence to the tragedy. A spokesperson Mr. Hu indicated that they would provide financial assistant to the family. The uncommonly generous gesture casted a hint of a possible entanglement with the family planning enforcement. Among 19 provincial level government who released their fines for family planning violations in 2012, Jiangxi top the list with $700 million in the past year. There was rumors that the parents might get away the two girls to avoid heavy fine for the baby boy (their third child).

Lives of two young girls is too heavy to be overlooked. This accident has too many unanswered questions which deserves a full-scale and thorough investigation.

The picture shows a Haier fully-automatic top-loading washer, which was usually designed to stop working in case of overload or imbalanced load. The washing cycle was slow and should not stop the toddlers from getting out or in the least making some noise to alert their parents who were both in the same small apartment. Even if somehow the girls were stuck and drowned, the gentle movement in washing cycle should not cause bleeding. The drying cycle should not start with the lid open, and should not start with the combined weight of two kids.

Washer/dryer related death is extremely rare. According to a computer product safety commission report, between 2005 and 2009, only two children under the age of five lost their lives in laundry room accidents, in comparison to 350 death in the bathtub during the same time frame.

Also by looking at the picture, it still seems impossible for the two year old to get in. Could the four year old raise the two year old and feed her to the tube while standing on the small chair? It took a sequence of 7 keys to start the dryer mode. Can a toddler accomplish that without making any mistake?

Police needs to get involved to decide whether it was a homicide or an accident.

Haier Group (SEHK: 1169, SSE: 600690) is a multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company headquartered in Qingdao of Shandong Province, China.

No comments: