Shopping carts are a staple of virtually every retail space in Orange County, from grocery stores to clothing outlets. Despite their practicality, carts can pose a significant risk to children under certain circumstances. Resulting injuries can be quite severe, particularly when they involve the head or neck.
The Washington Post reports on the increasing rates of injury associated with shopping carts. Data compiled from emergency room visits shows that approximately 530,494 children were harmed by shopping carts over a 20 period. While safety regulations have been in place since 2004 in the United States, researchers point to the need for further improvements to cart design. For instance, many posit that the risk of tip-overs could be reduced by situating child seating nearer to the bottom of the cart.
Data also found that head trauma is the most common injury associated with shopping carts. Younger children (those four and under) experienced a jump in rates of concussions resulting from shopping carts, which showed an increase of 8,850 injuries over the study period. Head injuries (which include concussions as well as contusions) typically occurred due to a fall from the cart, which accounted for 70 percent of incidents.
While cart-related injuries cannot be prevented in all cases, there are a few things parents can do to ensure their children remain protected during shopping excursions. Nationwide Children’s Hospital provides a few vital safety tips, such as proper placement of children within the cart. To this end, kids should not be allowed to ride outside or within the front of the cart. The stability of a cart is equally important. If a cart appears unbalanced in any way, it’s best to use another. Parents are also cautioned never to leave a child unattended while shopping.