Igloo Products Corporation is voluntarily recalling coolers from its Marine Elite line after reports that a Florida boy became trapped inside one. According to a USA Today news report, 5-year-old Nicholas Wanes climbed inside his family’s 72-quart Marine Elite cooler on March 2. The boy was in the cooler playing hide-and-seek with the lid open before it shut and he was trapped. His father, Robert Wanes, said his security camera caught the frightening incident.
After this incident, Igloo issued a safety alert on its website announcing the voluntary recall that identified eight models and item numbers, four of which the company says were sold at West Marine. The safety alert states that the cooler’s stainless-steel latch could inadvertently close where a person could potentially become locked inside. The recall includes only those Igloo Marine Elite coolers with stainless steel ability to lock latches. Igloo is offering customers latch replacement kits. You can receive a kit by calling Igloo at 1-866-509-3503.
It is indeed fortunate that Nicholas’s parents heard his cries for help and were immediately able to rush to his aid.
Children and Entrapment
Incidents such as these are tragically common. In January, three children in Florida suffocated to death after they found their way into an unplugged chest freezer outside their home and accidentally locked themselves in. Because the children got trapped in their hiding place while their mother was in the bathroom. She could not find them in time to save their lives. The children were 1, 4 and 6.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received reports of 34 deaths since 1996 involving children younger than 18 who became trapped inside chests. In January 2014, a brother and sister in Franklin, Mass. suffocated to death after they became trapped inside a 75-year-old Lane cedar chest that was recalled in 1996. According to the CPSC, some of the types of chests with these hazards include toy chests, cedar chests, cedar trunks, cedar boxes, hope chests, blanket chests, storage benches and storage trunks. These chests are often located in living areas or bedrooms or may be stored in attics, basements or garages.
If you have such products in your home, please make sure that they weren’t recalled. If you have chests with latches, make sure you remove the latches before you used them. A number of these deaths could have been avoided had these products been designed properly in the first place, keeping safety in mind. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product, please contact an experienced product defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.