Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

November 9, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Each Year, More Than 20,000 Children Are Injured by Shopping Carts

Simple safety tips can keep shopping trips from ending in the Emergency Room

Topeka, Kan. – Falls from shopping carts are among the leading causes of head injuries in young children, with one- and two-year-olds having the highest incidents of shopping cart-related injuries in the U.S. While the shopping cart might seem like the safest place for a child in the store, simple safety precautions are necessary to ensure that a quick trip for groceries does not end in injury.

“In addition to head and brain injuries, children visit the emergency room with cuts, bruises, and even broken limbs from shopping carts,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “Just because a child is seated in a shopping cart does not mean you can assume they’re safe. There are several safer alternatives to placing a child in a cart. But if a child must sit in a shopping cart, always keep one eye on your child and one hand on the cart.”

It is estimated that more than 20,000 children under age five are injured by shopping carts each year in the United States. Falls are the most common cause of shopping-cart related injury in children of this age group, accounting for 83 percent of all injuries. Tip-overs and children colliding with the shopping cart are other causes of injury.

Top five ways to avoid shopping-cart injuries:

“Safety precautions are important whenever a child is riding in a shopping cart, but especially for children ages 3 and under,” added Sage.

The American Society for Testing and Materials International has created a voluntary standard for shopping carts, which states that all shopping carts must have a warning label depicting safety messages, and that shopping carts with a child seating area must have adjustable child restraint systems with child-resistant buckles or closures. This standard is intended to cover children ages six months to four years, and who weigh 15 to 35 pounds.

The height, weight, center of gravity and wheel base dimensions of shopping carts vary significantly.  Some carts have a high center of gravity and a narrow wheel base making them top heavy when loaded and therefore easy to tip over. Due to this design flaw in many existing shopping carts and the difficulty of evaluating a cart’s safety simply by looking at it, parents and caregivers should consider alternatives to placing their child in a shopping cart until all carts are redesigned to prevent injury.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area (including Butler, Harvey, Sumner and Sedgwick counties) and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.)  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

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