Washing machine tragedy: Child can't be named

More details have emerged about the death of a Christchurch toddler in a washing machine last week - but her name and other details have been suppressed by a Coroner to protect her family.

The child died on Friday evening at a house in Hoon Hay.

Police are investigating and are yet to determine whether there are any suspicious circumstances or if the death was an accident.

The Coroner's office last night ruled that the name of the dead child cannot be published.

The suppression order was made to protect the privacy of the child's family - and the integrity of the police investigation and any potential court process in future.

Media cannot publish anything that would lead to the child being identified.

Police were called to the house on Friday just before 5pm.

Coroner Anna Tutton explained in her ruling that the toddler was at home with her family including her siblings.

"(Her) father noticed that he had not seen her playing with the other children for approximately 10 minutes," she said.

"Efforts were made to locate her and she was found inside the family washing machine.

"Attempts were made to resuscitate (the toddler) and she was taken to hospital."

The child died in hospital on Saturday.

Police reported the death to the duty Coroner, initially advising they were treating the death as suspicious.

A post mortem examination was carried out and a Coronial inquiry is now under way.

"The police investigation into (the toddler's) death is at a very early stage," Tutton said last night.

"The investigation will include consideration and determination as to whether the death was suspicious or accidental."

She said the little girl's family did not want her name to be published.

"They are concerned that they will be subjected to online harassment should her name be reported in the media," the Coroner explained.

"Any speculation in relation to (the girl's) death that might result from publication of her name has the potential to cause damage to her (family)."

Tutton said she was mindful of the principles of open justice but needed to protect the justice process.

"I have also taken into account the possibility that, if (any person) is charged in relation to her death, he or she may wish to seek name suppression," she said.

"Such an application may be rendered nugatory should (the child's) name have been published already.

"In addition, I have considered the fact that it appears that (the child's) siblings were with her at, or shortly before, the time she got into the washing machine.

"Their involvement, if any, is completely unknown at this point.

"Publication of (her) name may expose them to online speculation and abuse ... any such speculation and criticism of them raises particular issues for their welfare and wellbeing."

Tutton made an interim order suppressing the name of the child and any other information that may lead to her identification.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter