Witnesses said the May 11 incident at the Federal Laundromat in Camden, which was depicted in a surveillance video posted to YouTube, began when a father put the young boy, who they said could have been as young as 1-year-old, in the machine as part of a game without realizing it had already been filled with money and would automatically start the spin cycle, WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, reported Wednesday.
Owner Laurie Chhour said the boy's parents began panicking and shouting for help when the cycle began and the lid locked, trapping the boy inside the machine. She said employee Kong Eng quickly cut off the power to the washer and was able to free the boy.
"I pulled the baby out and then the baby still had a life and I'm very happy," Eng said.
Witnesses said the boy had a few bruises but appeared to be free of serious injury and was laughing by the time he left with his parents.
"I was thinking of putting up a sign. It sounds ridiculous, but it protects me," Chhour said.
Local prosecutors said the incident does not appear to be criminal in nature, but they would like the parents to come forward and prove the child is unharmed.