Shopping Cart Safety

Key Facts

  • More than an estimated 23,000 children under 15 are injured by shopping carts a year.
  • Falls from the cart are the most common cause of shopping cart-related injury in
    children under 5.
  • Kids can get hurt when they jump or fall from a cart, get pinched in the folding seat, or are hit by a cart.
  • Children visit the emergency room with head and brain injuries from shopping carts – in addition to cuts, bruises and broken limbs.
  • Children 3 and under account for 78 percent of shopping cart-related injuries seen in children 14 and under.
  • 1- and 2- year olds have the highest incidents of shopping cart-related injuries.
  • Boys and girls are equally likely to suffer a shopping cart-related injury (53 vs. 47 percent).
  • Among children under 5, the majority of shopping cart injuries are due to falls from the shopping cart. Shopping cart tip overs and children colliding with (i.e. running into) the shopping cart are other causes of injury.
  • Approximately 5 percent of all shopping cart injuries in children under 5 involved a child falling from/with a car seat placed on the shopping cart.
  • Falls from shopping carts are among the leading causes of head injuries in young children.

Safety Tips

When taking your children to the grocery store, take these steps to keep them safe:

  • Ask your older child to walk with you and praise him or her for behaving and staying near you.
  • Put your child in a stroller, wagon, or front pack instead of in a shopping cart.
  • If you are placing your child in the shopping cart seat, always use a harness or safety belt to restrain your child. Never place an infant carrier on top of a shopping cart.
  • Do not let your child ride in the cart basket, under the basket, on the sides or front of the cart.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a shopping cart and stay close to the cart at all times.
  • Use shopping carts with safer designs that allow children to ride closer to the ground (i.e. in a small model car in front of the cart).

Laws and Regulations

  • The American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) has a voluntary standard that includes performance requirements, test methods, and labeling requirements for shopping carts. The ASTM shopping cart standard is intended to cover children who are 6 months to 4 years old and weigh 15 to 35 pounds. Among other things, the standard requires that shopping carts with a child seating area have adjustable child restraint systems with child-resistant buckles or closures. It also requires that each shopping cart include a warning label with pictograms that includes specific safety messages, such as “ALWAYS buckle-up child in cart seat and fasten securely.”
  • In the absence of state laws, some retailers provide shopping cart restraints on all or a portion of their
    carts.

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