Igloo Coolers has voluntary recalled tens of thousands of its Marine Elite units due to their potential for “entrapment and suffocation” should a person accidentally become trapped inside, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced last week.
According to the notice, five models in the Igloo Marine Elite cooler line are equipped with stainless-steel latches that can automatically lock when the lid is shut, “allowing a person to become locked inside the air tight container.” The recall follows an incident in March in which a Florida boy became trapped in one of the recalled coolers.
The child, 5-year-old Nicholas Wanes, reportedly decided to hide in the cooler as a trick. In surveillance footage of the incident, the latch does not immediately close, but the boy uses his fingers to nudge it shut, at which time the latch locks and he becomes trapped inside. According to the CPSC advisory, the latches effectively lock the unit from the outside when they’re fully closed.
The boy’s mother Maria Wanes told Inside Edition in March that she heard a “muffled scream, and we had no idea where it was coming from.” She said searched in the outdoor area where the cooler was located before her husband Robert Wanes opened the cooler lid and found their son inside.
“I grabbed Nicholas, and he’s just terrified and just grabs onto me so tight,” Maria Wanes told Inside Edition. “It was just really traumatising for all of us.”
The company said at the time that it would voluntarily recall four of its Igloo Marine Elite coolers, according to local ABC-affiliate WPLG. However, five models in total were listed in CPSC’s announcement of the recall last week:
Igloo Marine Elite 54 quart
Igloo Marine Elite 72 quart
Igloo Marine Elite Legend 94 quart
Igloo Marine Elite Glide 110 quart
Igloo Marine Elite Contour 150 quart
The CPSC advised that the coolers should be kept away from children. The company is offering free replacement latches for the coolers, and consumers are advised to contact the company for instructions on how to remove the current stainless-steel latches that came standard on any of the above-listed models.
A spokesperson for Igloo did not immediately return a request for comment about the incident on Monday. But the company told WPLG in a statement in March that it was “very sorry for the scare this incident must have caused the child and his family, and very happy no one was injured.”