Shopping cart precautions

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: November 2nd, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You might think the worst hazard associated with shopping carts is the occasional wobbly wheel.

After all, they’re slow, sturdy and mainly used in store aisles and parking lots.

But according to a study published in a recent issue of the journal Pediatrics, these vehicles cause an alarming number of injuries.

In 2005, shopping cart accidents sent more than twenty-four-thousand American children to the emergency room.

Most of the victims were under age five. And three-quarters of the cases involved head or neck injuries.

These tragedies rarely involved cart malfunctions. They usually happened when children fell out of carts, or overturned carts by climbing on them.

Nine times out of ten, parents were present when the accidents occurred.

That might sound odd. But parents often divided their attention between shopping and childcare. And they frequently disregarded seat belts and other safety precautions.

Better cart designs could help. In Europe and Australia, such designs are required by law. But so far the U-S government hasn’t mandated them.

Nonetheless, some grocery stores have begun offering a helpful innovation… shopping carts with a miniature car attached to the front. Kids sit inside the car, virtually at ground level.

Parents can try other safety options, such as shopping with two adults present, using strollers to transport infants and having older children walk alongside carts.

In today’s fast-paced world, it may be impossible to avoid bringing little ones on shopping trips. But with a little planning, you can avoid any unscheduled stops at the hospital.