The American Academy of Pediatrics says more than 23,000 children are treated for shopping cart-related injuries each year. Most of those injuries happen when children are not strapped into shopping carts, stand up, and fall out. But in some cases, shopping carts have also been known to tip over, even if a child is properly strapped in.
Common Shopping Cart Injuries
A cart that tips over, or a child falling out of a shopping cart, can lead to head and neck injuries, as well as broken bones. From a personal perspective, my 5-year-old son once stood up in a cart and fell out, hitting his head on the floor so hard that he saw stars. Concussions from shopping cart injuries are not unheard of, and can even be deadly.
Preventing Shopping Cart Injuries
In order to protect your children from shopping cart injuries, try using strollers or wagons, either your own or provided by the store. Some stores also have plastic mini-cars or trucks attached to the front of some shopping carts, keeping your children much closer to the ground.
If you must put your child in a shopping cart, there are few tips to keeping them safe. Don’t leave them unattended in shopping carts, or allow them to stand up in a cart. Seatbelts or other straps should be worn at all times. Children shouldn’t be allowed to ride in the larger part of the cart (the part that carries groceries), or to hang onto the outside. And if you put a baby carrier on a cart, make sure to hold onto it at all times to prevent injury if the cart tips over.
The Future of Shopping Cart Safety
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission shares the academy’s concerns. But other than a safety alert issued in 2006, the CPSC is not yet pursuing a law making safer shopping carts mandatory. There are no laws requiring stores to have shopping carts that won’t tip over. There is a voluntary industry standard, but experts say it’s not specific enough to prevent falls and tip-overs.