The Wanes family, of Pompano Beach, Florida, broke into a panic earlier this month when they found their 5-year-old son locked inside a large cooler on the family’s back deck.
“I wanted to, like, play hide-and-go-seek,” Nicholas Wanes told ABC affiliate WPLG. “But I, like, found, like, a not-good hiding spot inside the cooler.”
Surveillance video from the family’s home showed the child crawling into the 72-quart cooler at around 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2.
He was inside for about two minutes playing, with the top slightly ajar and resting on the latch, but things took a turn fast.
The video appeared to show the boy pulling the latch and forcing it to close from the inside. He screamed for help when he realized that he couldn’t get out.
Thankfully, his parents were nearby to rescue him.
“We just grabbed him for dear life,” his mother, Maria Wanes, said. “We don’t want another family to not hear their child and go through this.”
His father Robert Wanes said he was upset with the cooler’s manufacturer, Igloo, because there wasn’t a way to open the container from the inside.
He blamed it on a design flaw and said it shouldn’t be easy for a child to latch the cooler from the inside.
“I know we’re all supposed to watch our kids and make sure they don’t crawl into a cooler, but as we know, it only takes a second to turn the other way,” he told WPLG.
Igloo appeared to agree with the family. It issued a recall of four products on Friday in the wake of the incident.
“It has been brought to our attention that a child recently, inadvertently trapped himself inside one of our products,” the company said in the statement. “We are very sorry for the scare this incident must have caused the child and his family, and very happy no one was injured.”
It attributed the incident to a performance malfunction with the cooler’s latch.
“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,” the company said. “We have identified three other products with the same latch, with the potential to encounter the same issue.”