Children love to climb into small spaces. Unfortunately, their love of hide and seek, combined with the increasing popularity of refrigerators, chest freezers, dryers and other large appliances, created a common and often deadly hazard for children in the early to middle decades of the 20th century.
Happily, instances of suffocation have sharply declined thanks to laws enacted to protect children from becoming trapped in household appliances. For example, any refrigerator built after 1958 is required to be capable of being opened from the inside, and most municipalities have long required that doors or lids be removed from appliances before they're discarded. Yet older refrigerators are still out there -- many of them in barns, garages or fields where children can easily stumble upon them -- and sadly these cases can and do still occur.