One South Florida family experienced their worst nightmare after a day spent out at the beach. While their son was playing inside their ice cooler, the top fell down and trapped him inside, according to ABC News. Since then, the Igloo cooler was recalled voluntarily and the company is urging people to either return their coolers or swap out the stainless steel lock with a new, safer lock. Fortunately, the boy whose story promoted the recall has was found safe and sound by his parents, but the family wants to be sure that no other child gets trapped like he did.
Rob and Maria Wanes told local news affiliate Fox 13 that upon returning to their Pompano Beach home on March 2, after a day spent in the sand and the surf, they unloaded their car and left their cooler out to dry. During that time, their 5-year-old son Nicholas climbed in the cooler, as their home surveillance feed later showed. Nicholas remained in the cooler for more than a minute before the top fell and locked him in.
Nicholas told WSVN, a local news station in Miami, how he felt during the ordeal. "When it got locked I was scared," he said. "Like I got locked in there forever."
And Nicholas wasn't the only one scared. His mom Maria told Fox 13 that she and her husband heard a muffled scream. “We came running out and you couldn’t tell where the scream was coming from,” she told the news outlet. It was Rob who opened the cooler and found their son. “He was right here in the cooler, curled up on his back and he was screaming, crying,” he said. “We yanked him out. In the video you can see his tiny little fingers push that out and now he’s trapped inside.”
Their cooler was an Igloo® 72 qt. Marine Elite, according to The Western Journal, which has a latch that can be locked. That latch was what inevitably trapped Nicholas inside.
Thankfully, his parents found him within a few seconds of being shut inside the cooler. But they reached out to Igloo, as well as the store where they purchased their cooler, to do their part in preventing any other child from getting trapped like Nicholas.
According to WSVN, Maria said, "Every thought goes through your mind, ‘What if? What if? What if? What if I didn’t hear him? What if I was out front? What if I was upstairs? What if I was in the shower?’ That’s why we want to get this out there."
In response to their ordeal and the associated risks, Igloo issued a voluntary recall for Igloo® Marine Elite coolers with these kinds of latches, which specifically include:
- Igloo® Marine Elite 72 quart; Item #00049375
- Igloo® Marine Elite 54 quart; Item #00049374
- Igloo® Marine Elite 94 quart; Item #00049574
- Igloo® Marine Elite 110 quart; Item #00034108
The company also issued a statement regarding the recall, saying:
It has been brought to our attention that a child recently, inadvertently trapped himself inside one of our products. We are very sorry for the scare this incident must have caused the child and his family, and very happy no one was injured. We have contacted the family to express our apologies and communicate the following actions we have already taken.
Those actions included recalling the coolers, determining what aspect of the products poses the risk — the lockable latches — and communicating the recall plan both internally and externally, as the statement explained.
Additionally, the company is sending out a latch replacement kit for those customers wishing to keep their cooler and jus make it a bit safer.
"We are working closely with West Marine to send customers a free latch-replacement kit that can be used to easily and safely switch out the current latch," the company said in the statement. "We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused our customers and fans. Our goal is to do everything we can to get our customers back to enjoying the outdoors while using and loving their Igloo cooler."
If you own the one of the recalled coolers, Igloo is asking that you contact the company, toll free, at 888-257-0934 to receive your free latch-replacement kit. Additionally, you should discard the old stainless-steel latches in order to prevent any potential accidents if you have little ones around.