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Parents Warn Others About the Moment Their Son Locked Himself in a Cooler While ‘Playing Tricks’

The parents of a 5-year-old boy are speaking out after he accidentally locked himself in a portable cooler while trying to play a trick on them.

As Nicholas Wanes’ parents, Robert and Maria, explained to “Inside Edition,” they were at their home in Pompano Beach, Florida, when their son walked out onto their patio where the cooler was.

As Robert explained, they had just come back from a day out on the boat when they left the cooler out on the patio to dry. He and his wife then went inside the kitchen to start putting things away.

It was during this time that Nicholas thought it would be funny to play a “trick” on his parents by squeezing himself into the cooler and closing the lid.

The 5-year-old didn’t know that by closing the lid all the way, he wouldn’t be able to get out on his own.

That’s when his parents starting hearing faint, yet alarming, screams.

After Nicholas had flicked the latch with his fingers, causing the cooler to seal with him still inside of it, he started screaming for help.

Luckily, his parents heard him before it was too late.

As you can see in the footage from the family’s security cameras, both Maria and Robert are seen running around the patio, initially unaware of where the screams were coming from.

Finally, Nicholas’s dad is seen flipping open the lid to the cooler, and his mom quickly pulled their son out of it.

Maria said:

“We heard this muffled scream, and we had no idea where it was coming from. We ran outside. I’m looking over behind the barbecue, I’m looking around the pool, I’m looking around the couches. And then we were standing here, and you can still hear it. Rob opens the cooler, I grab Nicholas, he is just terrified. He just grabs on to me so tight, and it was just really traumatizing for all of us.”

The family took to Facebook to warn others about the possible dangers of a small child being unattended around bigger, portable coolers:

So we always see the good stuff and although this story ended well, hopefully there is something to be learned. My son Nicholas got locked inside an igloo cooler. He was playing by himself and thought it was a good idea. Watch the video I made from our security cam and then please hit share.

Posted by Robert Wanes on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Robert wrote:

So we always see the good stuff and although this story ended well, hopefully there is something to be learned. My son Nicholas got locked inside an igloo cooler. He was playing by himself and thought it was a good idea. Watch the video I made from our security cam and then please hit share.

Nicholas told “Inside Edition” that when the cooler locked, he “got scared.”

He said:

“When I got locked, I was scared, like I got locked in there forever.”

Now, the 5-year-old knows to “never do that again.”

As Robert also pointed out, and as Dearly previously reported, three young children from Florida died after accidentally locking themselves in a large standing freezer two months ago.

The dad hoped that by sharing their story with others, it not only stops a tragedy from happening to another family but that the companies who make these types of coolers make some safety changes to their equipment.

And as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, it seems as though their warnings are working. Igloo — which made the particular cooler in this story — is recalling the product after learning of Nicholas’s story.

The products under the recall 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 said people with these coolers can call 1(888)-257-0934 in order to receive a kit that will fix the latch.

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this. No matter how vigilant we think we are, there are always surprises. Thankfully this all ended well and has been a true learning experience for your family and many others. I get the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s…but the reality is many don ‘t think of coolers and this post is very helpful as either a heads-up or a reminder. God Bless your family.

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