Photo credit: Niki Miller
It’s been publicized that the practice of attaching a car seat to a cart is not considered safe but when I go to a grocery store in Oklahoma City I usually find at least one baby in their car seat “snapped” in to the cart. I would like to remind any parent reading this that if they are doing this currently to stop right away but don’t feel bad or guilty for doing this. Many parents have “snapped” their car seat to their cart (myself included!) before knowing the dangers. When we know better we do better!
So why is it dangerous? Car seats were not designed to sit on carts. All carts are differently shaped. Even if the seat will “snap” on to the cart this practice is dangerous because it may break the part that clicks in to the base in your car which will render the seat ineffective in an accident. Putting a car seat on a cart in this manner also makes the cart top heavy. A small shift of weight by baby or even a shift of the cart can make the whole cart tip or the baby and seat to tip off of the cart which can seriously injure baby. Another cart flaw can cause baby to fall through a cart and become severely injured as shown in this video.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Injuries associated with shopping carts are an important cause of pediatric morbidity, especially among children younger than 5 years. An estimated 24200 children younger than 15 years, 20700 (85%) of whom were younger than 5 years, were treated in US hospital emergency departments in 2005 for shopping cart–related injuries.
Among their recommendations to prevent accidents (including education for parents and possible redesigning of shopping carts) they state:
Providing adult caregivers with alternatives to placing a child in a cart while they shop can effectively prevent shopping cart–related injuries. Some stores provide supervised play areas for children. Parents may be able to arrange for another adult to accompany them and watch the child during a shopping trip. Other parents may be able to transport a young child in a stroller, wagon, frontpack, or backpack. An older child can be asked to walk. Some parents may be able to leave their child at home with an adult while they shop, but this is not an option for many others. Some stores offer shopping via the Internet with or without home delivery.
Photo Credit: Carissa Traut
Many carts now also include warnings to not put an infant in an infant seat on the cart. Even if the cart includes a rest for a car seat it still isn’t recommended to do this because it can cause the cart to be too top heavy and tip or the seat to tip out, especially if a parent forgets to buckle the seat in to the cradle.
Car seat manufacturers also caution against this use of car seats. It’s in your manual. If you don’t read other instruction manuals do read your car seat manual! Your baby’s life could depend on it since a car seat is a potential life saving device in a car accident. Read the manual!
Photo credit: Kissably Close, Aimee Park
I suggest that parents have a soft baby carrier that they can put baby in while grocery shopping if there isn’t a built in infant seat in the car seat (but again, these can cause the cart to become top heavy so use with extreme caution and always buckle baby in!). For more information on types of carriers and carriers that are good for different stages please check back to earlier blog posts. When baby is old enough to sit alone it’s safe to put baby in the toddler portion of the cart (about 6-8 months). Until then, consider wearing your baby at the store.
Photo Credit: Carissa Traut
For more information please see:
- Shopping Cart–Related Injuries to Children, . Found online at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/2/e540 (also see mentioned AAP statements linked at bottom of this article)
- The Car Seat Lady
- Car Seat Blog
What is your favorite carrier to use while at the store?