You protect your little ones from injuries in the car, at home, and at the playground. But what about while in a shopping cart? You’ll want to make sure you’re putting just as much thought into keeping them safe at the grocery store, too.
You may not think your grocery store shopping cart poses much of a threat to your child. Yet 21,600 emergency department visits yearly are due to shopping cart injuries in children under five, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also addressed shopping cart safety, stating that parents may be better off leaving their children at home in the care of another adult. It’s also worth considering that there are no standardized safety guidelines for American shopping carts, so each store’s carts may vary in safety. In fact, many American shopping carts have high centers of gravity, poor maintenance schedules, & other factors that contribute to the dangers of having a child in a shopping cart.
Before your next trip to the store, here are some tips to help make sure your child is safe and secure in the shopping cart.
The child seat is the best seat. Riding inside the cart, underneath it, or on the side of the cart are all examples of poor practices in shopping cart safety can cause the cart to tip over. Kids may also fall off the cart. You’ll want to choose a shopping cart with a functioning seat belt or harness and buckle them up. Kid-friendly carts shaped like trucks or fire engines are even better choices if your store has them. They’re lower to the ground.
Take five to disinfect. Shopping cart safety doesn’t just include falls. Very young kids will put their mouths just about anywhere, including the shopping cart handle. Use antibacterial wipes to clean your cart before you begin shopping. This helps prevent the spread of germs.
Never place the infant carrier on top of the cart. Infant carriers are not meant to be placed on top of a shopping cart. When bumped, they can tip or fall out of the cart, resulting in head trauma for the baby inside. If you are shopping with an infant younger than six months, you want to strap your baby into their car seat and place the car seat inside the cart.