Safety For Kids In Shopping Carts

Kids in shopping carts can be potentially dangerous if not used properly. Find out why and how to help avoid injury to your children.

As a first time mother of a 11 month old baby, I often see the most common mis-uses of shopping carts, endangering children on practically an every day basis. This might be an issue that is not considered controversial, but it something that I have noticed is not taken seriously and in my opinion, is putting children in danger of serious injury.

This past weekend, my husband and I took a trip to the ever too popular Wal-Mart. We went in and were immediately greeted by the worker wearing a blue vest. Without cue, my husband began his quest for the perfect cart. The perfect cart is a clean, sturdy, non-squeaking cart with strong, secure straps to hold our son in tight.

The man in the blue vest smiled and said that he put all the good carts with buckles to the side and would be happy to retrieve one for us. This is truly impressive in my opinion. I have never gotten this service offered in any other store in the city. I thanked him several times over and secured our son in the basket of the cart.

This is the routine every time we go to a store where our son will be sitting in a shopping cart. However, in this particular 30 minute shopping trip, we saw 4 children that were not securely placed in the shopping cart using the straps provided.

Sadly, for many children, their parents do not practice this safe measure. According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign (NSKC) the number of children ages 5 and under injured in shopping cart accidents has increased by more than 30% even though the standards for shopping carts has become more stict.

The yearly average for children hurt in shopping cart accidents is 21,600, with falling out of the cart accounting for 2 out of 3 accidents. Children injured in these types of accidents can receive injuries like lacerations, contusions, fractures, internal injuries and concussions with an average of 5% of the children hurt needing hospitalization. Since 1985, 3 children have died as a result of a shopping cart injury.

Some organizations are requesting that shopping carts be banned until they are redesigned for child safety. Some of the new features researches are suggesting are:

1. To lower the center of gravity or widen the wheel base to prevent tipping of the cart,

2. To fit existing carts with 'training wheels', and

3. To require that children be strapped in by law.

Many shopping centers have added the restraints to carts even though they are not required by law. Know that if your child falls out of a cart due to your neglect, the shopping center is not responsible because they have provided you with the means of securing your child safely.

As a parent, it is your job to protect your children from this sort of injury. Some ways to for you to prevent shopping cart injuries are:

1. To secure your child in the seat with the restraints provided,

2. To not let your child push or steer the cart,

3. To stay close to your cart, staying attentive to your children at all times,

4. To not let your children ride underneath the basket on the wire "shelf"

5. To not let your children hang onto the outside of the cart and ride

6. To make sure your child does not put their fingers in the sliding joints of the basket seat, and

7. To make sure older children in the seat do not unbuckle themselves.

As a parent, take note of the efforts given by the shopping centers and stay attentive to your children, making sure they are securely restrained in the basket seat and not hanging on the shopping cart in a careless way - you might be saving yourself a trip to the emergency room.

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