Whenever I go out to the grocery store it’s usually not hard to spot a smiling squirmy toddler seated in a grocery cart. Invariably the cart is pushed by a parent whose gaze is fixed on shelves full of goods, other carts, their shopping list, usually with only passing attention paid to their youngster. Most parents likely do not consider the potential danger of child injury posed by shopping carts, but a new study in the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics shows that shopping carts pose a serious risk of injury to kids.
The study reveals that over 24,000 children wind up in hospital emergency rooms every year from shopping cart-related injuries. That is 66 children every day, roughly one child every 22 minutes. It should also be noted that only around 4% of shopping cart-related injuries are serious enough to require admission to the hospital. That equates to a lot of injured children every year. (Nearly 600,000)
Of the 24k that do end up in the ER, the analysis shows:
• Nearly 85% of injuries are to children aged newborn to 4 years old
• Falls from a cart constitute 70.4% of injuries, while running into the cart and the cart tipping over each account for only 6%
• 78% of the injuries sustained were head injuries – these include soft tissue injury, concussion and internal injury
• The rate of head injuries alone has steadily increased from 3,483 in 1990 to 12,333 in 2011,
Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide’s Center for Injury Research and Policy explained that “a wiggly baby in an infant seat or a toddler reaching for a bright box of cereal can easily cause a fall that results in serious injury. Children’s center of gravity is high, their heads are heavy and they don’t have enough arm strength to break a fall.” “It only takes a moment for a parent to look away for a shopping cart accident to happen.”
What Can You Do To Lower The Risk?
Parents should opt for carts that seat kids lower to the ground, like those with toy cars or fire engines. Otherwise avoid carts if possible, or remain vigilant while your children are using them. Also encouraging stores to furnish shopping carts with safety belts is a good idea. Keeping a close eye on your children is always the best idea.
What to Do If Your Child Is Injured?
If your child is involved in a shopping cart-related injury notify the store about the injury. Premises liability law holds shopkeepers responsible for ensuring their store is safe for customers. This includes a duty to ensure that their shopping carts are safe. Alerting them of the injury will put them on notice of the problem and help to prevent other children from harm.
Along with the store’s owner, you may also have a case against the manufacturer of the shopping cart for product liability based on defective design, manufacture, or inadequate warning.
If you decide that you would like to pursue legal action, keep detailed records of all medical treatment and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area to discuss a potential lawsuit.
Hopefully raising awareness of the potential dangers will lead to safer shopping carts in the future, but keeping a close eye on your kids will remain the best way to prevent possible injuries.
• More than 24,000 Kids Go To The Hospital For Shopping Cart-Related Injuries Every Year: Study (Huffington Post)
• Shopping cart danger: 66 kids hurt a day, study finds (NBC News)
• Pediatric Shopping-Cart-Related Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments, 1990-2011 (Clinical Pediatrics)
• Shopping Cart Injuries: Victims 5 years old and younger (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) • Shopping Cart – Related Injuries to Children (American Academy of Pediatrics)