The other day, when I was shopping for groceries, I practically had to hide my eyes when I saw how a fellow shopper, a mom with a toddler, was letting her little boy navigate through the supermarket. Instead of strapping him into the cart seat, he was perched on top of the shopping cart handle, riding sorta side saddle. The mom mostly had her hand on him for support. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that she’d take her hand off her little guy now and turn away to look at something on the shelves. Cringe! Talk about a shopping cart fall just waiting to happen!
Shopping carts are dangerous for youngsters. An estimated 21,407 kids under age 5, in fact, are treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments each year due to shopping-cart-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. They can definitely be avoided.
Here’s what you can do to prevent shopping-cart injuries from falls and tipovers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents avoid putting kids in shopping carts entirely by:
* Leaving your child home with another adult on your grocery shopping days.
* Having your child walk once he gets older.
* Having another adult come with you to watch your baby while you shop.
* Using a stroller, wagon, or soft carrier instead of a shopping cart.
* Food shopping online so you don’t have to trek to the store with your baby.
If food shopping with your children can’t be avoided and you decide to use a shopping cart, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that parents always use seatbelts to restrain their child in the cart’s seat. The AAP also issues these guidelines.
* Leave your child alone in the shopping cart.
* Let your child stand up in a shopping cart.
* Place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart.
* Let your child ride in the cart basket.
* Let your child ride or climb on the sides or front of the cart.
* Let older children push the cart when there’s another child in it.
And I’d like to add another Don’t: *Let your child ride perched on top of the shopping cart handle.