It happened Saturday at the Wanes family’s outdoor patio in Pompano Beach. Unbeknownst to his parents, Nicholas Wanes had squished himself into the cooler as part of a game.
"I was playing a trick,” he told Inside Edition.
The trick turned dangerous in a split second. Nicholas stuck his little finger through a slight crack in the cooler, hit a latch and shut himself inside the airtight device.
"We just returned from a day on the boat, we left the cooler outside to dry, my wife and I were inside putting things away,” Rob Wanes told Inside Edition about what happened that afternoon when they got home.
"We heard this muffled scream and we didn’t know where it was coming from and I am looking over behind the barbeque, I am looking around by the pool, I am looking behind the couches, then we were standing here and you can still hear it, Rob opens the cooler, I grab Nicholas. He was holding on so tight, it was just really traumatizing for all of us," Maria Wanes added.
Their surveillance video shows them frantically running out to the patio and then hearing the muffled screams of their son inside the cooler. They opened the cooler and let the child out.
"When it got locked, I got scared, like, I got locked in there forever," Nicholas added.
Rob and Maria want other families to realize the potential dangers of these coolers. The concerned father said he cut off the lock protrusion on the cooler so when the latch comes down it won’t seal itself off but instead just close.
Nicholas said he knows he's lucky and added that he learned an important lesson.