It seems simple enough, you get a new appliance and get the old one hauled away. But if you do have some old appliances in your house, getting rid of an old fridge may not be as simple as throwing it out.

You may think the reason for banning the trashing an old fridge is something environmental perhaps with something like freon. That's not the case. We're talking about the very old style of fridges that have a latch to stay closed.

Those old-style refrigerators have a latch that cannot be opened from the inside and are a real danger in the suffocation of children who are playing in and around these appliances.

Perhaps you remember the episode of the 80s sitcom Punky Brewster in which the character Cherie gets trapped during a game of hide-and-seek.

The frightening concept is, sadly, only too real. A tragic story from Grand Rapids tells of 3 children, 6, 5 and 4 who died due to playing around and getting trapped in an old ice box. The siblings were trapped in the chest and died in June of 1987 from suffocation and the heat that built up in the chest.

Michigan Abandoned Refrigerator Law

In Michigan, a law was passed in 1954 that makes it a crime to abandon a refrigerator or chest freezer with a latching mechanism without removing the lock.

The law reads:

Any person who knowingly leaves, in a place accessible to children, any abandoned, unattended or discarded icebox, refrigerator or other container of a kind and size sufficient to permit the entrapment and suffocation of a child therein, without first removing the snaplock or other locking device from the lid or cover thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

It's a misdemeanor charge just to abandon the appliance - 90 days in jail and/or $100 fine. However, if a child dies due to getting trapped, then manslaughter charges may be brought.

Bring Them Home - These Children Are Currently Missing

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Gallery Credit: Lacy James

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