Toddler stuck inside public bathroom during two high pressured washing cycles

Toddler gets caught inside self cleaning toilet just like this one, can't get out. Photo via Wiki Commons.

A New Zealand toddler found himself stuck inside a self cleaning, public bathroom as he was pummeled with water and cleaning solution. The victim was 3-year-old Zachery Wakelin who also suffers from Autism. The boy reportedly ran ahead of his mother last Thursday to use the toilet. After he was inside, he shut the door and that’s when a recorded message announced that a wash cycle was about to begin.The mother tried to open the door, however, the door is made so that it automatically locks once it starts preparing to self wash. The youngster was locked inside for two wash cycles lasting about 10 minutes. Passerby’s tried to rescue the tot but were unsuccessful in trying to kick the door in.

The toilet system was part of the ‘exeloo’ or automatic toilet self cleaning system used in much of Europe and Australia, similar to bathrooms found at beaches or parks around the U.S. According to the exeloo website, such automated toilet units ‘provide an automated wash down system that washes the unit down with disinfectant and water sprays after a preset number of uses then dries the surfaces with high pressure fans before becoming available for the next user.’

The boy’s mother, Jessie Wakelin, told TV NZ that her son is now terrified to use the bathroom. She said it was difficult hearing him scream and not being able to do anything about it. She also said she didn’t know if his screaming was because the water was really cold or really hot.

The restroom is supposed to be equipped with safety measures to prevent someone from being trapped inside but reportedly those fail-safes were calibrated incorrectly. The bathroom, which is owned by the city of Stirling Point in New Zealand, says they are looking into the matter and have locked the unit so it cannot be used until it is properly fixed.


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  • Jenny Riley

    If he had been told to press the button by his mother the cleaning cycle would have stopped. Maybe the boy takes after his mother when it comes to common sense. And why did she let him go in there alone? Has she heard of holding hands, been put in a double stroller or using a child harness?

    • Kerri West

      Did you miss the part about the child being Autistic?