Preventing shopping cart injuries

Every day about 66 children end up in an emergency room after an injury from a shopping cart. A recent study in the journal Clinical Pediatrics found that about 80 percent of those children had head injuries. Head and neck injuries are common and they happen when children fall from the cart or when the cart tips over.

Because parents and caregivers often take their children with them on shopping trips, Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South, shares her tips for preventing injuries.

It can be difficult to look at the shelves and closely watch a child at the same time. Injuries can and do happen in the time it takes for you to reach for something on the shelf.

Shopping Cart Safety Tips

If you choose to put your child in a shopping cart while you are shopping:

  • Use a cart that has a child seat that is low to the ground, if one is available.
  • Choose carts that appear stable and are not wobbly.
  • Always use the shopping cart safety straps. Be sure the belt fits snugly around your child and that the child’s legs are placed through the leg openings.
  • Avoid placing infant carriers on top of shopping carts. If your child is not old enough to sit upright by himself in the shopping cart seat, consider using one of the alternatives to shopping carts.
  • Only place children in the shopping cart seat. The outside, the bottom, and the basket of the cart are not safe places for children to ride.
  • Stay with the cart and your child at all times.
  • Make sure your child remains seated.Keep children away from the wheels where little fingers can get pinched.
  • Know that it is very easy for older children to tip a cart over if they are trying to push it or if they are hanging on it.

Alternatives to Shopping Carts

  • When possible, leave children at home with another adult or bring another adult to the store with you to watch children.
  • Use a stroller or wagon instead of the shopping cart to transport your child.
  • If the child is old enough, ask him to walk with you.
  • If one is available, use the child care area at the store.
safety, injury