Latch on recalled Igloo coolers.
The stainless steel latch on the recalled Igloo marine coolers.
Photo: CPSC

Igloo has recalled 60,000 marine coolers after a child became trapped inside one of the coolers in March. The 5-year-old Florida boy's parents freed him, and he suffered no harm.

The coolers pose a hazard when the stainless steel latch automatically locks after the lid is closed. That can trap someone inside the cooler, potentially leading to suffocation, according to the recall notice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Marine coolers are more heavy-duty than a typical picnic cooler because they’re designed to withstand the harsh conditions you might encounter on a boat—hours in direct sunlight, salty seawater, and a rollicking ocean. And because they’re intended to keep fish fresh on fishing trips, they’re better insulated than run-of-the-mill coolers, which would make it more difficult to hear someone trapped inside.

The issue with the latch is that the hasp can catch on the padlock ring—even with no lock—when someone tries to lift the lid.

"Given the design of the locking mechanism, it's not surprising that a child could raise the hasp, open the lid, climb in the cooler, and close the lid, causing the hasp to drop over the ring," says Don Huber, CR's director of product safety. "Luckily, in this case, the parent realized quickly that the child was missing and opened the cooler, freeing him. If he hadn't been found quickly, the result could have been tragic."

Igloo is replacing that latch with one that flips down but has no center ring. "The replacement latch holds the lid secure but only requires a small amount of force to release," says Brian Garofalow, Igloo's director of marketing. "If a person were trapped inside, they could open the lid simply by pushing up on it with enough force to disengage the latch."

More on Recalls

The recall involves five sizes of white Igloo Marine Elite coolers ranging from 54 quarts to 150 quarts. The Igloo logo is embossed on the lock as well as on the outside of the cooler. Larger versions of the cooler have two wheels and a metal handle so that they can be pulled along.

The recall was announced by the CPSC on May 8, but two months earlier Igloo had separately issued a safety alert after learning that the Florida boy had become entrapped in a 72-quart cooler while playing hide-and-seek. According to local news reports, the parents realized their son was missing and quickly freed him from the locked cooler. The incident was recorded on the home’s security camera, and the family reported it to Igloo.

"It has been brought to our attention that a child recently, inadvertently trapped himself inside one of our products,” an Igloo spokesperson said in the statement to Local 10 News in south Florida. “We are very sorry for the scare this incident must have caused the child and his family, and very happy no one was injured.”

Garofalow explained that after Igloo learned about the boy's entrapment in March, the company issued the safety alert while also beginning the process of issuing an official recall with the CPSC. That entailed working with its distribution partners and following the CPSC's recall procedure.

Details of the Igloo Recall

The recall: 60,000 white Igloo Marine Elite coolers with locking stainless steel latches. The coolers were sold in 54-, 72-, 94-, 110-, and 150-quart sizes. The Igloo logo is embossed on the metal latch and on the outside of the cooler. “Igloo Marine Elite Cooler” and the quart size are printed on a label.

Three recalled Igloo marine coolers.
Three of the five sizes of marine coolers recalled by Igloo.
Photo: CPSC

The risk: The cooler’s stainless steel latch can automatically lock when the lid is closed, allowing a person to become locked inside the airtight container, posing entrapment and suffocation hazards.

Incidents: Igloo has received one report of a child who became trapped inside the cooler before being freed by an adult.

Where and when sold: West Marine, Sportsman’s Warehouse, other home and recreational stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com and igloocoolers.com, from January 2015 through March 2019 for $10 to $180.

The remedy: Igloo is proactively sending a free replacement latch to owners who registered their products. If you own the cooler and have not received the new latch, be sure to put the cooler out of reach of children. When the latch arrives, remove the old latch and replace it with the new one.

Contact Igloo: For more information, call Igloo at 866-509-3503 or go to its website, igloocoolers.com, and click on “Contact Us” at the bottom left of the page.

To report a defective product: Call the CPSC hotline at 800-638-2772 or go to saferproducts.gov.