Article at a Glance

  • An average of 66 children a day are treated in the emergency room for shopping cart related injuries.
  • Instead of placing your child in the shopping cart, consider using a stroller or baby carrier.
  • If you do place your children in a shopping cart, make sure that they are properly strapped in and that you stay by their side.

Many of us think of the shopping cart as a safe place to put their child while shopping, but serious injuries are actually quite common. According to a recent study, an average of 66 children a day are treated in the emergency room for shopping cart related injuries.

The study published in Clinical Pediatrics looks at whether or not voluntary shopping cart safety standards that were started in 2004 have had any effect. Unfortunately things have not improved. Most notably concussions and closed head injuries have continued to steadily increase. Since 1990 the annual concussion/closed head injury rate has increased by 213%.

Injuries to the head are by far the most common, making up over 78 percent of the recorded injuries. Children were most likely to be hurt by falling from the cart, accounting for 70 percent of the injuries.

The study found that 85 percent of the injuries happened to children under the age of 4. Younger children are top heavy and still developing their motor skills. This makes it very easy for them to lose their balance if not properly secured.

The study suggested some changes to make shopping carts safer, namely designing carts with child seats that are closer to the ground and having stores heavily promote the use of safety restraints. But there are some simple and important steps that parents can take now to make their children safer.

Shopping Cart Safety Tips

  • It is hard to keep an eye on a child while shopping. When possible, see if you can leave your child at home with another adult or bring an adult along with you to help.
  • If your child won’t stay near you without riding in a shopping cart, recruit an older sibling to help.
  • For babies, consider using a baby carrier or sling that allows you to carry your baby on you. If you have older children, you can use a stroller or wagon.
  • If you do put your child in a shopping cart, be sure to always use the safety restraints and make sure your child is seated properly. Never leave your child alone and children should not be allowed to stand up or to ride in the basket.
  • Do not let your children climb on or ride on the side of the shopping cart. There are no stability guidelines for shopping carts and some designs tip over easily.
  • Don’t ever put your infant seat or carrier on top of the shopping cart. They can be easily knocked off.
  • Look for shopping carts that allow your child to ride close to the ground. Many stores provide child carts that have a toy car for children to ride in up front.

For more information:
Despite warnings, about 24,000 kids are hurt annually in shopping cart accidents (

Shopping cart danger: 66 kids hurt a day, study finds (

Pediatric Shopping-Cart-Related Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments, 1990-2011 (Clinical Pediatrics)

Shopping Cart Safety (

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