December 11, 2015

Shopping cart safety: It’s time to talk about it

by grocery

Injuries from shopping cart falls are predictable and preventable.


What is one luxurious fantasy that moms with babies and little children dream about? Any idea? I can make an educated guess and say it would be shopping alone, browsing at a leisurely pace, and not having to worry about growing four extra arms to prevent kids from bolting down the toy aisles at warp speed or babies falling from shopping carts.

Dream on, ladies, because it doesn’t often happen so we have to be prepared to keep our little shopping buddies safe.

We all know how busy this season can be as we prepare to decorate, shop and travel. We clutch several lists in our hands as well as think about another half dozen lists floating through our tired brains. In the midst of these chaotic preparations parents must not succumb to the distractions that can lead to injury.

When my son was a toddler, his grabby little hands were everywhere and having him seated in a shopping cart did not automatically make him safe. Shopping carts were a source of worry as I tried to make my holiday purchases, but keep two eyes on my baby.

Just like we talk about pedestrian safety and driving safety, we have to talk about another kind of safety that we don’t usually discuss: shopping cart safety. From 2008 to 2012, there were an estimated 107,300 emergency department-treated injuries associated with shopping carts to children younger than the age of 5, as reported by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

It can be difficult to watch our children as we become distracted with our shopping decisions, but there are far too many serious injuries every year related to falls from shopping carts and these are predictable and preventable. Most are falls from the cart or when the cart tips over. Many of these can be avoided by addressing some common practices that lead to injuries.

Follow these tips for keeping babies and small children safe while wheeling around in a cart:

  • Choose a cart that appears stable and is not wobbly or has loose wheels.
  • Avoid placing infant carriers on the top of carts as this is not secure and a fall could easily occur.
  • Choose stores that offer Safe-Dock, a universal carrier dock that allows infant carriers to be safely anchored in the cart.
  • Only let children sit in the designated seat and always use the straps to buckle them in.
  • Never allow children to sit in the basket or underneath the basket.
  • Never allow children to “ride” along the side or in the front of the basket.
  • Never allow children to stand up anywhere in the cart.
  • Never leave your child alone in a cart.
  • If your child is old enough or big enough have the child walk alongside of you.

There is no denying how busy this season can be and distractions seem to multiply. By following the above tips, we encourage you to enjoy this magical time by keeping your kids injury-free as you navigate all those aisles. Have safe and happy holidays!

GiGi Rose, pediactric trauma injury prevention coordinator for Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, is a West Virginia native who has called Nashville home for 25 years. Her professional background is in program coordination and community outreach.

Early Childhood

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