Beware of Shopping Cart Injuries this Holiday Season
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
We all know that shopping, especially around the holidays when there are many people at the stores, can be difficult and dangerous. Tons of people down one isle, not enough shopping carts and many other things can contribute to shopping cart injuries.
One of the most "at risk" ages for shopping cart injuries are children between the age of 6 months and 4 years of age. Children this age sometimes try to stand up in the cart, lean from the cart or may have an older sibling who attempts to push them but these are not the only reasons for shopping cart related injuries. Although it is against regulations most stores have carts that are not safe to be used by children in their inventory. An unsafe cart can be a cart that has damaged safety straps in the child seat area or is completely missing the straps, it may be a wobbly cart or a broken cart leaving your child at risk. Stores are required to periodically check their carts to make sure they are following shopping cart safety standards.
Two of the most dangerous types of situations that cause shopping cart injuries to occur are when the shopping cart tips over and when a child attempts to climb out of the cart. The first issue accounts for only approximately 6% of shopping cart injuries but it can sometimes cause the most severe injuries because the cart and its contents can potentially fall onto of the child while they are falling. Shopping cart tip-overs can occur for multiple reasons. They can occur if the shopping cart is turned too quickly, if the cart is slammed into by another cart or person at the store or if the shopping cart is not properly working. A shopping cart can have damages or wear and tear that cause the cart to be unstable and may cause it to tip over.
Here are some tips to help you keep your child from sustaining injuries from a shopping cart:
- Before putting your child in a shopping cart check the wheels to make sure the shopping cart is stable and not wobbly.
- If you have more than one child or if your child wishes to ride in the shopping carts that have an area attached to the shopping cart that they can sit in such as a plastic car attached to the front of the cart make sure that the device is stable and that the device does not make the cart more prone to tip. Some of the devices that go on the front of the cart do not have wheels in the front of the plastic riding device and make the cart prone to tipping.
- Keep your child strapped in at all times in the shopping cart child seat. Also, make sure that the belts are not too loose.
- Keep your eyes on your child at all times. Make sure that they do not try to stand up in the cart, take off the belt or try to lean out of the cart because all of these things can increase the chance of a shopping cart injury.
- Do not place children in the child seat that are over the age or weight limit. (Shopping carts are intended to carry children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old up to 35 lbs).
- Do not place children in the shopping cart basket
- Try to find someone to shop with you or try to leave your child at home if they are too young to fit in the shopping cart seat. If you can not make arrangements and have to take your child with you it is now recommended that you do not put your child's portable infant car seat in the shopping cart seat. Infant car seats are very unstable when placed on top of a shopping cart and the slightest tip of the shopping cart may cause the infant seat to fall off and land on the floor. Instead it is recommended that you either put your child's infant car seat in the basket or put your infant in a baby sling or baby carrier such as the Baby B'jorne.
- Do not let your older children push the cart around unless they are much older and very capable of doing so.
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