Danny Kitchen innocently ran up the debt by playing a game on the tablet which automatically billed his parents, Greg and Sharon, as he progressed.
His parents provided the schoolboy with a password for the game after he told them it was a free download.
But after downloading the free app, Danny found his way into the game’s online store and ordered dozens of add-ons — totalling £1,710.43.
Despite having several emails from iTunes the next day itemising the payments, the Kitchens dismissed them as an error — until a call from their credit card company made them realise what had happened.
Sharon Kitchen, from Bristol, said: “We were pretty distracted on Sunday with it being a family day. He’d asked my husband if he could have the passcode for a free download. My husband said no and he [Danny] insisted. He said: ‘Please, Dad, it’s only a free one.’
“My husband put the iPad close to his chest, put the code in and gave him back the iPad. He continued to play for about 10 or 15 minutes because shortly after that we were due to go out, so it wasn’t a long period of time he was playing.
“At 6am on Monday I checked my emails and I saw the repetitive emails coming through from iTunes. The first three were £69.99. It all looked like it was the same thing, I presumed it was a mistake.
“It was only when the credit card company called to say were these 19 transactions normal? I said: ‘No, it’s not.’
“He [Danny] was very upset when he realised what he had done. His brothers and sisters were telling him off, but of course he didn’t know what he did — he’s only five.
“To be honest, I’m not sure how he did it.”
Kitchen said Apple, the company which owns and runs iTunes, had been “fantastic” in helping them get a refund for the money.
Describing how he came to rack up the eye-watering bill, Danny said: “I just clicked on it because it said it was free. I gave it [the iPad] to Dad, he put the password in, and the next day it cost the money.”
Asked what he had learned from the saga, Danny replied: “Not to do it again.”
But it does not appear he will get the chance.
His father said: “I have now barred the iPad from any more downloads, so that’s the end of that.”