It may be convenient to park your child in a grocery cart while you shop, but it isn't always safe. More than 12,800 children age 5 and younger are admitted to emergency rooms each year as a result of shopping cart-related injuries. "Carts with narrow wheel bases can easily tip over when kids move to grab a can or a box," says Gary Smith, M.D., director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Children's Hospital, in Columbus, OH. And some children fall out of carts when they try to stand up in them. For safer trips:
- Buckle up! Since many carts are not equipped with seat-belt restraints, you might want to buy a safety harness (try Safe-Straps Co.) to keep in the trunk of your car to have when you need it.
- Never attach your child's own car seat to the cart. It can be difficult to secure, and the extra weight can make the cart unsteady and more likely to tip over. If you must use your own car seat, place it in the larger basket. It's safe to use shopping carts that come with their own infant carrier.
- Stop joyrides. To prevent collisions in the store, never let a child wheel around a cart on his own (especially if another youngster's in it). And keep your kid from riding on the outside of the cart, sitting in the big basket, or standing up in any part of the cart.