Be careful when you plunk your youngster into a shopping
cart on your next trip to the grocery store.
New US research finds that one child winds up in the emergency room every 22
minutes because of an injury related to shopping carts.
Falling from shopping carts caused most of the injures (about 70%), followed
by running into/falling over a cart, cart tip-overs, and fingers, legs or arms
getting trapped in a cart, according to the study in the January issue of Clinical Paediatrics.
Overall, the researchers found that more than 500 000 children under the age
of 15 were treated at emergency rooms for shopping cart-related injuries
between 1990 and 2011, an average of more than 24 000 a year.
The head was the area of the body most often injured in shopping cart
accidents, at 78%. Soft tissue injuries were the most common type of head
injury, but the annual rate of concussions
and internal head injuries rose by more than 200 percent during the study
period, from 3 483 in 1990 to 12, 33 in
2011. Most of this increase occurred in infants and toddlers.
Voluntary shopping cart safety standards introduced in the United States in
2004 have done little good, the researchers noted.
Standards not adequate
"The findings from our study show that the current voluntary standards
for shopping cart safety are not adequate," Dr Gary Smith, director of the
Centre for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in
Columbus, Ohio, said in a hospital news release.
"Not only have the overall number of child injuries associated with
shopping carts not decreased since implementation of the safety standards, but
the number of concussions and closed head injuries is actually
increasing," Smith said. "It is time we take action to protect our
children by strengthening shopping cart safety standards with requirements that
will more effectively prevent tip-overs and falls from shopping carts."
Reducing risk of injuries
Suggestions include improved restraint systems, placing child seats in
shopping carts closer to the floor, teaching parents about shopping cart safety
and having stores promote the use of cart safety belts.
The researchers added that there is even more that parents can do to keep
their children safe around shopping carts. These include not using carts that
lack safety restraints or have broken wheels, staying with your cart and your
child at all times and not putting infant seats on top of shopping carts.
Parents should also consider putting their infants either in strollers or in
carriers that strap to the front or back of the parent's body.
"It is important for parents to understand that shopping carts can be a
source of serious injury for their children," said Smith, a professor of paediatrics
at Ohio State University College of Medicine. "However, they can reduce
the risk of injury by taking a few simple steps of precaution, such as always
using the shopping cart safety belts if their child needs to ride in the
Read: Supermarkets trolleys are dirtier than toilets
(Picture: Woman with her kids with a shopping cart from Shutterstock)