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Toddler Gets Stuck in a Claw Machine: OMG, How Did This Happen?

by Lisa René LeClair

Photograph by Twenty20

Parents with toddlers know the drill: You show up at an indoor play space party and pray that your kid doesn't get lost or injured. For the most part, these play centers are a secure place for parents to let their kids roam free, but according to Oklahoma News 4, that's not what happened to one little boy at Jump Zone in Oklahoma City.

Dawson Low, a 22-month-old toddler, went missing for more than an hour before he was located and rescued from a—wait for it—claw machine.

His mother, Destiny Low, said it happened when she turned to talk to her 4-year-old daughter, who was attending a private party at Jump Zone. When she looked back to check on her son, he was gone.

She said she wasn't concerned at first—thinking he might have sneaked into a bouncy house with another child—but after a few moments of not being able to locate his bright orange outfit, she panicked and contacted authorities.

"I'm not the type of parent that ever thought I'd lose my kid in five seconds," Low told News 4.

I'm not the type of parent that ever thought I'd lose my kid in five seconds.

After checking security camera footage, Jump Zone determined that Dawson was still inside the building—but where?

"He's hurt," Low recalled thinking at the time. "He's somewhere alone and hurt, and that is absolutely terrifying."

In an effort to quiet the building, employees turned off the air pumps. It was then that a little girl—putting quarters into the prize machine—heard him crying from inside. Somehow, Dawson had gotten stuck inside the machine, behind a hidden door that didn't open outward. The boy was found lethargic and sweaty after being trapped inside the machine, filled with lights, for over an hour.

"He quickly responded to just the outside environment where we put him to cool down," said Colin Roy with Emergency Medical Services Authority.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a child has gotten wedged inside one of those claw machines. Last month, the Orlando Sentinel published a story about another curious little boy—only this time, they caught it on film.

Though neither of the boys suffered any permanent injuries, Low hopes that her son’s experience will force manufacturers to rethink the design of these machines so it doesn’t happen again.

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