A recently released study estimates that 24,000 children annually, 66 per day, require emergency room care for injuries sustained as a result of shopping cart-related accidents.

The study, carried out by Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, looked at shopping cart-related injuries to children from 1990 to 2011. Researchers noticed a significant increase in the number of injuries over the study period, despite the fact that shopping cart safety standards were established in 2004.

Researchers discovered that 70.4 percent of these injuries were from falls from the shopping carts. Collisions, cart tip overs, and limb entrapment were also common reasons for injury. The most likely type of injury, accounting for 78.1 percent of emergency room visits involving shopping carts, is a head injury.

Protect Your Child from Shopping Cart Injuries

Dr. Smith noted that since the implementation of shopping cart safety standards, not only have shopping cart-related injuries not declined in number, they have actually increased. Clearly, more effective shopping cart safety standards are needed to prevent tip overs and falls from shopping carts. Until that happens, these are some ways you can protect your child:

  • Always use the shopping cart safety straps, and be sure your child is snugly secured in the straps and that the child’s legs are placed through the leg openings.
  • If available, use a cart that has a child seat that is low to the ground
  • Make sure your child remains seated at all times
  • Stay with the cart and your child at all times
  • Avoid placing infant carriers on top of shopping carts
  • If parts of the cart restraint system are missing or not working properly, choose another cart
  • If your child is not old enough to sit upright by himself in the shopping cart seat, consider other options such as leaving your child at home with another adult, using in-store child care areas, using a front or back-pack carrier, or using a stroller
  • Whenever possible, choose alternatives to placing your child in a shopping cart