Safety Tips--Dangers For Toddlers In Grocery Stories

When taking your toddler shopping at the grocery store, follow these basic tips to keep him or her safe and sound.

Grocery shopping with a toddler can be fun or it can be futile. When packing up your little one to shop for the family's food, keep in mind a few basic tips for the child's safety and your peace of mind:

1. Properly seat your child in the shopping cart. Many parents allow their kids to stand up in the cart, to hang over the side, or to ride underneath in the open section. None of these actions are safe; all can lead to an accident or injury. Firmly arrange your child in the seat and fasten the seatbelt if there is one. After a time or two your child will get used to proper seating and not put up a fuss to do anything else.

2. Don't let your little one run up and down the aisles. Unattended children often pull items off the shelves, which can become a safety hazard for themselves or other shoppers. They may bump into elderly customers or knock down a display. Children who run about without their parents' full attention may be tempted to steal or damage a grocery item, sometimes without meaning to. Teach children to keep their hands to themselves, and don't allow them out of your sight.

3. Prevent toddlers from putting things in their mouths. Check free food samples that are offered by some stores to be sure that your child will not choke on them. If your little one has allergies, ask about the presence of trigger foods in the samples. When bite-size items are offered on toothpicks, help your child pull the food off and discard the toothpick rather than put it in his or her mouth, which can become a choking hazard. Train your kids not to pick up spilled food items from the floor and not to reach into open display cases to help themselves to donuts or other foods.

4. Don't leave your child unattended in the cart. Returning a video or using the restroom while your little one waits in the shopping cart may render her a prime target for abduction, especially if your cart is parked near the entrance. Similarly, don't leave your child in the car or parking lot alone while you return the cart or go back inside the store for a forgotten item. It only takes an experienced burglar a few moments to unlock a car door and grab an unprotected child.

5. Don't let your kids touch things they shouldn't. For example, you don't want their fingers to get stuck in the checkout conveyor belt. Nor do you want them picking up germs from unwashed produce. Even handling the shopping cart handle bar should lead to hand washing as soon as you return home. Teach children not to put their fingers in their mouths while in public, as this is a common way of spreading germs.

As innocent as grocery shopping should be, it sometimes introduces a host of challenges to young children and their parents. Plan ahead so when you take your little one shopping, neither of you will be caught off guard.

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