Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Shopping Cart Safety
When parents take their child to the grocery store, most don’t think of the dangers their child may face from something as ordinary as a shopping cart. But, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 24,000 children in the U.S. were treated in emergency rooms for shopping cart-related injuries. Some of these injuries were severe and even resulted in death.
The most common injuries involving shopping carts are falls, carts tipping over, falling off a cart while riding on the outside, becoming trapped in a cart, being hit by a cart, and being run over by a cart. More than 74 percent of shopping cart-related injuries were to the head or neck. Specific injuries included fractures, bumps, and cuts. In some cases, the shopping carts were not equipped with safety restraints or the safety belts were broken, but many of these injuries occurred when a child was left unattended and fell or slipped from the carts because they were not properly restrained.
The AAP recommends the following to parents instead of putting children in shopping carts:
Have another adult come with you while shopping so that someone is watching the child at all times
Put children in strollers instead of shopping carts
Ask older children to walk instead of sit in the cart and praise him or her for behaving and staying near
Leave children at home with another adult
Some of these suggestions are not practical for most families who have no choice but to take their children to the grocery store and seat them in the cart. Parents should make sure that if they put their child in the grocery cart seat, he or she is properly secured with a safety harness. Parents and caregivers should not:
Leave their child alone while in a shopping cart even for a moment.
Always stay within arms reach of the cart.
Allow their child to stand in a cart.
Place an infant in his or her carrier on top of a shopping cart even if the carrier says that it will fit on a cart.
Allow their child to ride in the basket of a shopping cart.
Allow their child to hold on and ride on the outside of the cart.
Allow an older child to climb on the cart or push a cart that has another child in the seat.
Park the cart near enough to displays or shelves that their child can reach.
Look for stores that have taken steps to keep children safe – for example, those with carts designed specifically for children, such as those that have seats where children ride closer to the ground; those that have carts with child restraints in each seating location on the cart; those that offer to help you bring purchases to your car so that you can safely take your child through the parking lot rather than having to use the cart; or those that have supervised in-store play areas for children.