Wash Where You Are Going
A Bluff mother spent a frantic ten minutes trying to free her screaming toddler from a public toilet, after the autistic boy was trapped inside and drenched with detergent and water during a wash cycle.
Jessie Wakelin was walking with her children in Stirling Point, Bluff, when 3-year-old Zachery ran ahead into an Exeloo owned by Invercargill City Council.
Ms Wakelin watched horrified as the doors shut on her son without warning, and an electronic voice warned a self-clean cycle was about to begin.
A crowd of 20 people attempted to rescue the boy, even trying to break down the metal door, as Zachery pressed the door release button to no effect.
"Because he was screaming, I didn't know whether it was hot water … It was horrible, really horrible," Ms Wakelin told Fairfax NZ.
He remained trapped for two wash cycles, and was soaked, cold and visibly shaken by the time the doors opened and he was released.
Ms Wakelin said, Zachery has refused to go to the toilet by himself since the ordeal, despite being toilet-trained for over a year.
The bathroom is fitted with a motion sensor to ensure people are not inside when wash cycles begin, but council building assets manager Paul Horner admits the sensor may need to be recalibrated.
The council had not encountered any problems of this kind before, he said.
A contactor will look into the issue on Monday.
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My Own Words:
A bluff mother spent ten minutes trying to help her screaming toddler in a public toilet. The autistic boy was trapped inside and wet during the wash cycle. Jessie Wakelin was walking with her three children when suddenly three year old autistic Zachery ran towards the exeloo which was owned by Invercargill city council. Ms Wakelin (Zachery’s mother) watched in horror while an electronic voice warned everyone who was there, that a self - clean cycle was about to begin.
20 people tried rescuing Zachery by breaking the metal door down but it didn’t work. The reporter didn’t know if the water was hot because, Zachery was crying. Mom quoted to the Fairfax NZ “horrifying just horrifying!” Zachery was kept inside locked until the two wash cycles finished. Ms Wakelin believed that Zachery didn’t want to go to a toilet ever again by himself, even though he has been toilet trained for over a year. The bathroom is now filled with motion sensor, to make sure that people won’t be inside during the wash cycle. But council building assets manager Paul Horner admits that the sensor should be re-adjusted.
I think this issue is very serious and sad. I feel sorry for Zachery Wakelin because he’s autistic and cannot take care of himself well. His mom should be more careful not to let him out of her sight. Safety measure (motion sensor) should also be put in place to prevent such incidents.