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Boy dies after being trapped between washer and dryer while playing hide-and-seek

An 8-year-old boy from Texas died June 10 after becoming trapped between a washer and dryer while playing hide-and-seek.

The Wrangler Hendrix was discovered “stuck between” the two appliances, authorities told People. A family member began CPR, but when paramedics arrived, they found the boy “unresponsive.”

Hendrix, who was visiting relatives in Coolidge, Georgia, was rushed to a local hospital. After “approximately an hour of resuscitation attempts,” he was pronounced dead, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim Watkins said.

Law enforcement officials suspect that Hendrix died from positional asphyxia, which is when a person is unable to get enough oxygen to breathe due to the position of their body. He is pending an autopsy.

Positional asphyxia is extremely rare, according to Dr. Kira Sieplinga, a pediatric hospitalist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“You breathe in oxygen and you breathe out carbon dioxide,” Dr. Sieplinga told TODAY Parents. “With positional choking, you have trouble exhaling. And if you can’t exhale, the carbon dioxide gets trapped in your body and there’s no way for the oxygen-containing air to get in.”

To minimize the risk of positional suffocation, Sieplinga recommends that parents and caregivers teach their children about safe places to hide. Cars and bodies of water should always be off limits, Sieplinga said.

Babies are particularly vulnerable to suffocation, Sieplinga noted.

“That’s why you want a car seat to adjust at that 45-degree angle,” he explained. “If you’re too upright, your baby’s head can hyperflex, which can cut off oxygen.”

According to a study that looked at the dangers of “seating and carrying devices” for children ages two and younger, 48 percent of deaths in car seats between 2004 and 2008 were due to positional suffocation.

But Sieplinga emphasized the fact that positional asphyxiation is very rare.

“Read the labels on products, whether it’s a baby carrier or a car seat,” he said. “The labels are there because something has happened. If you take reasonable precautions, everything should be fine.”

Hendrix school bus driver Judith Engleman described the second grader as a “honey” in an online tribute.

“He had very good manners and took care of his sister,” Engleman wrote. “They were so excited about their trip and the beach. We joked about wearing a lot of sunscreen when they got off the bus. Rest in heavenly peace, Wrangler.”

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