Pompano Beach boy winds up trapped in cooler during game of hide-and-seek

Igloo issues recall for 4 coolers after seeing Local 10 story

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – It was a typical Saturday for the Wanes family of Pompano Beach.

Until their 5-year-old son crawled into their cooler.

"I wanted to, like, play hide-and-go-seek," Nicholas Wanes said. "But I, like, found, like, a not-good hiding spot inside the cooler."

Robert and Maria Wanes said they were cleaning up after a day on their boat. They said they emptied and cleaned their 72-quart cooler and left it on their back deck. 

Their surveillance camera captured Nicholas having some fun of his own after some family members went inside the kitchen.

"He decided to walk along and hop in the cooler," Robert Wanes said.

According to the time stamp on the surveillance video, Nicholas was inside for almost two minutes playing, while the top was slightly ajar, resting on the latch.

But that changed in a second.

"I wanted to, like, play hide-and-go-seek," Nicholas Wanes said. "But I, like, found, like, a not-good hiding spot inside the cooler."

Nicholas' fingers could be seen through the opening, moving the top and forcing the latch closed. He could not open the top from the inside.

"Really scared," Nicholas said, recalling how he screamed for help.

In seconds, the family is seen on video running out to the deck and realizing where Nicholas was. They opened the cooler and scooped Nicholas out.

"We just grabbed him for dear life," Maria Wanes said.

The family thinks the cooler has a design flaw. Robert Wanes told Local 10 News he believes it should not be so easy for the cooler to latch. He also believes there should be a way for it to be opened 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 said.

Maria Wanes said her family was lucky.

"We don't want another family to not hear their child and go through this," she said.

Igloo said the company has issued a recall of four of its products after they were informed of the incident.

"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," the company said in the statement.

The company will recall the following products:

  • 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

"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," the company said.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.