Add old microwaves to list of dangerous abandoned appliances

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Most of us know about the danger of having old freezers and refrigerators around for kids to crawl into, but who would have imagined that a child could suffocate in a microwave?

Certainly not the family of the 6-year-old Plattsmouth boy who died after becoming trapped in an old microwave, ready for the dump, in the back of a pickup truck.

According to police reports, Jimmy Cook, 44 inches tall and weighing about 45 pounds, went missing after a game of hide-and-seek with his sister Monday evening.

After a 21?2-hour search, Jimmy was found, unconscious inside the oven.

An older appliance, the oven was about 18 to 20 inches long and 18 inches deep. When the boy pulled the door closed behind him, the latch shut and trapped him inside.

The close confines, coupled with 90-degree temperatures, probably killed the child long before he was found, according to the police chief.

It was a tragedy that will stay with the family for life, and has shaken the town where the boy lived and the school where he would have been a first grader next fall.

It's shocking that playing outdoors with his sister, an activity most adults would promote as a health alternative to playing video games or watching DVDs, could turn out so tragically.

It's too late for Jimmy Cook, but there's something we can do now.

Let's check our back yards and neighborhoods for hazards like old freezers, refrigerators -- and add microwave ovens to the mix. Also, make sure chemicals, fuels, tools and other dangerous substances and equipment are locked up where young children won't find them and endanger themselves or others.

We must do all we can to make sure something like the Plattsmouth tragedy doesn't happen here.

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