Over the last few years, the presence of antibacterial cart wipes has become a fixture, and one of the first things that you see when you enter a grocery store. Stores obviously recognize that parents of young children often bring them along. It also highlights the stores’ acknowledgement that parents do think about their children’s health and safety when they’re out and about.
Still one of the biggest threats to children in a grocery store is not the germs on the grocery cart. Instead, it’s the cart itself. According to a report published by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 20,000 kids under the age of five are seen in Emergency Departments each year with shopping cart related injuries. The majority of the children, 84%, suffer from head and brain injuries.
The American Association of Pediatrics policy states “Parents are strongly encouraged to seek alternatives to transporting their child in a shopping cart until an effective revised performance standard for shopping cart safety is implemented in the United States”.
- Never leave your child unattended. Always keep one hand on the cart.
- Do not allow kids to stand up while in the seat of the shopping cart. Always use the buckle, which will help prevent standing.
- Kids should be encouraged to walk along side you and not ride in the main basket or hang on the outside of the shopping cart.
- Consider letting older children ride in shopping carts with seating offered lower to the ground such as the ones modeled after cars, or with a built in seating booth in the front. Remind them to keep arms and legs inside the cart.
- Do not allow young kids push a cart with young children in our around it.
- Despite common practice, infant car seats should never be placed on top of the shopping cart. Often parents are misled into believing that the infant seat “locks” onto the shopping cart because it can produce the same clicking sound heard when installing it to the seat base. This gives parents a false sense of security.
Sadly, in 2011 an infant died after his infant carrier was ejected from a shopping cart when the cart hit a bump in the parking lot. Almost all car seat manuals specifically state not to place the seat on top of a shopping cart. Additionally the uneven weight distribution increases the risk of cart “tip-overs”.
Take your kids with you on errands, but shopping carts are better left for groceries and goods.
—Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System