The next time you go to the grocery store or supermarket, look around you. Chances are you will find someone with their baby car seat on a shopping cart.
This is, in fact, very dangerous. It’s something that not a lot of parents know about.
Just the other day, I came across three different instances in a supermarket.
The thing is, supermarket carts have clear warning signs about not doing this. Unfortunately, this is simply ignored.
Surely, it’s convenient. However, is it safe? It definitely is NOT.
I’m sure someone is bound to say:
“I have always done that and nothing bad has ever happened. Besides, other people do it too so I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
Is putting a baby’s in harm’s way a risk worth taking?
Take a pause. Think about it.
A study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has this to say:
“Although a voluntary shopping cart safety standard was implemented in the United States in 2004, the overall number and rate of injuries to children associated with shopping carts have not decreased. In fact, the number and rate of concussions/closed head injuries have continued to climb …”
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommends not to place baby car seats on shopping carts due to the potential dangers associated with the practice.
With that, here are the 6 top reasons why placing a car seat on a shopping cart is a bad idea.
6. Too many innocent children are getting injured.
The unfortunate reality is that accidents involving car seats on shopping carts really do happen.
In fact, shopping carts are the leading cause of head injuries among young kids:
“According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), shopping carts are the leading cause of head injuries in young children – surpassing injuries from high chairs, strollers, changing tables, baby gates and other equipment. The CPSC estimates that about 16,000 children under the age of five fall out of shopping carts each year and nearly 1,000 of those injuries involve falling infant carriers.” (1)
In addition, the Huffington Post cited the following stats:
“Between 1990 and 2011, 530,494 children had to go to the hospital because of a shopping cart-related injury — which averages out to more than 24,000 children injured a year, or 66 children injured each day.” (2)
This means that 1 child every 22 minutes is treated in an emergency department for injuries related to a shopping cart accident (3).
Furthermore, these injuries can be severe or even deadly. Most injuries, about 70.4%, are caused by falls from the cart or by the cart tipping over (4).
The number of concussion-related injuries was significantly high. Most of these shopping cart injuries are unfortunately serious …
5. Head injuries accounted for 78.1% of the most commonly injured body region.
Most of these head injuries were associated with children ages 0 to 4 years, in other words … infants and toddlers.
In fact, the number of head injuries has been increasing:
“While soft tissue injuries were the most common diagnosis for these head injuries, the annual rate of concussions and closed head injuries (which are concussions and internal head injuries) increased significantly by more than 200% during the study period, with the number of these injuries going from 3,483 injuries in 1990 to 12,333 in 2011. Most of this increase was associated with children ages 0 to 4 years.” (5)
In a report by Action News 4, the children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh revealed that 80% of the children coming to the hospital with shopping cart-related problems primarily had head injuries. (6)
A lot of people think that car seats are designed also for the purpose of locking onto shopping carts. However …
Here is something most people do not know about car seats:
4. Baby car seats are NOT designed to be secured on top of shopping carts.
In fact, most shopping carts that you find in grocery stores and supermarkets have warnings saying that baby car seats should not be placed on top of shopping carts.
Unfortunately, no one appears to be reading or paying attention to them …
… even when the sign is right down in front of them as they put the carrier on the cart.
The big “Warning” sign is right there. If folks will just take time to read them.
And for those who read them, they seem not to take the warning seriously … until something tragic happens.
“Most car seat manufacturers specifically prohibit using their seats this way but that warning is usually buried along with 30 other generic warnings in the instruction manual so it doesn’t get much attention.” (7)
Safety experts have time and again explained this but this message seems to be ignored.
According to safety expert Debra Holtzman:
3. Shopping carts can tip over easily — and they’re more likely to if there’s a car seat mounted on them.
Holtzman, who is also the author of The Safe Baby, adds:
“The cart has a narrow wheel base in relation to its height, so the center of gravity is affected when you put a child in it. When your child’s car seat is on top of it, the center of gravity is affected even more, increasing the chances of tipping.” (8)
Did you know that it does not take much weight to tip over a cart?
“Safety experts say when kids are strapped inside a shopping cart it raises the center of gravity of the cart. As little as ten pounds can tip it over.” (9)
Accidents happen and they do often within seconds … most especially when shopping carts tip over. Within seconds, your life can change completely.
Here is one mom’s account of a shopping cart that tipped over with her 10 month-old baby:
“She flipped the whole cart over while still buckled just because I’d taken the groceries out. It was empty, and that makes it light enough that she can flip it. That’s not good … It happened so fast and the fact that she was able to flip it with her own body weight because it was empty … I’m really concerned those carts aren’t as sturdy as they need to be.”
Tragic stories from car seat on shopping cart accidents are real. Here is the heartbreaking fact …
2. Babies have died from head injuries as a result of their car seats falling off a shopping cart.
The sad truth is that …
“Any injury or even DEATH (Yes. Babies have died from head injuries due to their carriers falling off the shopping cart) that has come from a carrier falling off the top of a cart is 100% preventable.” (10)
It has happened before and it can happen again.
“A three-month-old boy has died after he fell from a shopping cart as it was pushed over a speed bump. James Anderson Berg died after the car seat he was sat in toppled from the top of the cart in a Kroger parking lot in Macon, Atlanta.” (11)
You can read the comments section on our Facebook page and you will see a lot of people saying that they have witnessed horrible incidents of carriers just falling off shopping carts with the babies getting seriously injured.
Having experienced seeing these firsthand is just something that they simply cannot get our of their minds.
It’s just really sad.
Tragedies are preventable.
1. One child death is too much, too many.
Let’s put a stop to this. Fatalities and serious injuries from car seat-shopping cart accidents are REAL.
So parents, please take this seriously and protect your baby. Save yourself, your family, and your friends from grief with having to deal with a heartbreaking and tragic accident.
There are many options available.
Just DON’T place the baby car seat on top of the shopping cart.
Instead of placing the car seat on the shopping cart, a lot of moms opt to use baby carriers or wraps such as the ones shown below:
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommends NOT to place car seats on shopping carts and suggests the following options for parents (12):
– Get another adult to come with you to watch your child while you shop.
– Put your child in a stroller or wagon instead of in a shopping cart.
– Wear a baby carrier or sling.
– Ask your older child to walk and praise him or her for behaving and staying near you.
– Leave your child at home with another adult while you shop.
– Shop online if your store offers shopping on the Internet.
– Never leave your child alone in a shopping cart.
– Do not let your child stand up in a shopping cart.
– Do not allow an older child to climb on the cart or push the cart with another child in it, because it is very easy for a child to tip the cart over.
Please share this article with family and friends who have babies and toddlers.
Let’s do our part in preventing another child from getting seriously hurt, or at worst, getting killed.
Would you still be willing to take a risk of your child falling from a shopping cart?