Station Scene: Shopping Cart Safety

Community By Cristina Armand, Fire Rescue Dept., Special to The Miami Laker Thursday, February 6, 2014


When we enter a store, we seem to be unconsciously grab a shopping cart. Sometimes we may stop and wipe down the handle with an anti-bacterial wipe and if you have a child, you put them in the cart, but for the most part, we just go ahead with our tasks without really thinking of the hazard we are pushing around.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, each year approximately 23,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries from shopping carts. Children under three years of age account for 89 percent of shopping cart related injuries. The most common injury is from children jumping out of a cart, falling, getting pinches in the folding seat, or hit by another cart.

The next time you go to the store with a child and use a shopping cart, remember the following:

• Always make sure the cart has functioning safety straps. Whether your child is in a built-in baby seat, a toddler seat at the front of the cart, a two-kid bench seat, or a plastic car or a truck seat, make sure they are always strapped in.

• Never leave a child unattended when they are in the cart. Always stay within arms reach, even if your child is safely secured.

• Do not let your child stand up or climb on the cart. This increases the likelihood of your cart tipping over.

• Do not place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart. They can fall off easily in this position. If you need to bring your baby’s car seat into the store, bring your own stroller and use the cargo basket for your groceries.

• Do not place your child in the basket of the cart. Riding in a cart next to a package of raw meat may expose your child to salmonella. Always have your child in the seat and remember to place raw meats in a plastic bag.

• Children should never ride on the outside of the cart or underneath the basket.

• Older children should never push the car when another child is in the cart. It can easily tip over and injure both children.

• Try and use carts with a safer design that are lower to the ground. An example is the model with a car built in the front. The low center of gravity makes them less likely to tip over.

You can do the following as an alternative to having your child ride in the cart:

• Have older children walk and make sure they stay with you.

• Place your child in a stroller, wagon, or front pack instead of a shopping cart.

• Get another adult to come with you to help watch your children while you shop. One adult can get the groceries while the other one is constantly supervising the children.

Following these simple tips will make your next outing a safer one and your hardest decision will be choosing the quickest checkout lane.