A refrigerator is one appliance that you can find in almost every house. These days every fridge has a magnetic door but it wasn’t like that always.
There is a very horrifying reason behind refrigerators having a magnetic door and we are sure that you will creep out after reading it.
Earlier fridges used to have a latch opening, that could be opened only from the outside. But, it resulted in hazardous incidents as non-magnetic fridges could not be open from inside.
By August 1956, many children lost their lives by suffocating inside fridges. These children climbed inside the fridges while playing hide-n-seek and the rubber around the fridge doors that works as a seal to keep the cold in didn’t allow their voices to be heard.
It became so common that United State even passed the Refrigerator Safety Act.
As per the act, all new fridges had to be openable “easily from the inside”. A few years earlier, in 1951, a law was passed in California that made it illegal to dispose of a fridge where children could access it, and a couple of years after that they added an amendment that required people to remove doors or latches before discarding them.
Switching to a magnetic opening and closing mechanism meant that fridge doors would stay closed when you wanted them to, but could be opened from the inside with a little bit of a push.
There was even a research conducted by scientists to see the reactions of children when trapped inside fridge-like enclosures.
A paper titled “Behavior of young children under conditions simulating entrapment in refrigerators” published in 1958 had these images of scientists conducting a research.
The paper had two key findings:
First, when trapped, children tend to push on the door to try to escape; and the second, that 3-year olds can push on average with 10 pounds of force, whereas 5-year olds can push with 21 pounds. The data from the study was used in developing standards for fridge doors.
Though, passing the act didn’t solve the problem completely but the number of deaths did fall in the years after the introduction of fridges with magnetic doors.
A 1985 study published in Public Health Reports looked at the data from California to know how many children from the age group of 0-9 years died from suffocation in a fridge or freezer. A huge difference was noticed as the researchers found out that between 1960 and 1981, such deaths fell by half, from just over 1 child per million to less than 0.5 children per million.