South Florida boy gets locked inside Igloo cooler prompting voluntary recall

A Florida boy was looking for a fun place to hide, but ended up locking himself inside an ice cooler, prompting a recall from Igloo Products Corp., the company who created it. 

Rob Wanes, the father of Nicholas, said the family spent the day out on the water on March 2. When they returned to their Pompano Beach home, they were unloading their vehicle, but left the cooler outside to dry. Surveillance video from the home showed the 5-year-old crawl into the cooler. 

For more than a minute, Nicholas was inside with the top cracked open, but eventually the top dropped and locked.

“When it got locked I was scared,” he told WSVN. “Like I got locked in there forever.

During that time, Maria, his mother, said they heard a muffled scream. 

“We came running out and you couldn’t tell where the scream was coming from,” she recalled. 

Finally, Rob looked at the cooler and opened it up. Nicholas was in there. 

“He was right here in the cooler, curled up on his back and he was screaming, crying,” Rob said. “We yanked him out.”

The cooler was an Igloo® 72 qt. Marine Elite. It has a latch that allows the user to secure it with a lock. 

“In the video you can see his tiny little fingers push that out,” Rob explained, “and now he’s trapped inside.”

Fortunately for Nicholas, he was only in there a few seconds with the lid all the way down, the Wanes family said. The family want to make sure nothing like this happens to another child, and notified Igloo and the store where they purchased it.

“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?’” Maria said. “That’s why we want to get this out there.”

On Saturday, WSVN reported Igloo issued a recall for Igloo® Marine Elite coolers with stainless-steel, ability-to-lock latches. They provided the following statement:

“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:
- We have immediately identified the product in question.
- Our engineering team has determined what could have been the cause of the incident: a performance issue with a latch on the cooler, with the ability to lock, if the user attached their own padlock or similar device.
- We have identified three other products with the same latch, with the potential to encounter the same issue.
- Our sales staff has identified all of the points of distribution of the four total products with the potential to experience a similar issue.
- We have issued a recall statement with the distributors of this product, and published it publicly on our website.
- We have communicated our recall plan with the distributors that have sold these products.
- We have communicated our recall plan internally with our customer service team, so they can take action on behalf of customers that own one of the products.

Igloo stands behind the quality of our products, and because our consumers’ safety and satisfaction are our top priority, we are voluntarily recalling the Igloo® Marine Elite coolers made for boating applications, which have been sold through West Marine stores. This recall concerns only those Igloo® Marine Elite coolers with stainless-steel, ability-to-lock latches sold under the item numbers listed below:
- 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

It is possible that the stainless-steel latch could inadvertently close where a person could potentially become locked inside. 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.

If you are an owner of one of the aforementioned coolers, you can contact us, toll free, at 1(888)-257-0934 to receive your free latch-replacement kit. Once removed, please discard the old stainless-steel latches.

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.”