The Herald Bulletin

April 1, 2014

Shopping cart injuries among children are on the rise

Parents say new design and stronger safety standards are needed

By Traci Moyer The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Kit Bush wants stronger safety measures for children in shopping carts.

“I’m glad they have seat belts, but they still have a lot of wiggle room and sometimes they are hard to adjust,” she said.

Bush, 32, of Anderson said she puts her 16-month-old son, Gideon, in the shopping carts specially designed with a toy car in the front that are available at some local grocery stores.

The problem is the specialized carts are not widely available and children can still sustain injuries in them.

According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, every day about 66 children are treated in an emergency room for a shopping cart-related injury.

“That’s not surprising – sadly,” Bush said.

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently studied shopping cart safety following safety standards implemented in 2004, but the study found injuries are still on the rise even with the regulations. The study, which looked at reported injuries from 1990 to 2011, was for children younger than 15 years.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the current standards for shopping carts do not address the stability of the carts and the testing of restraints should be revised into a more “clear and effective performance criteria.”

Another problem noted by AAP is parents should never place a car seat in or on a shopping cart.

“Car seats are only designed to be used in a vehicle,” said Joanne Amick, a registered nurse and pediatrician clinical manager for Community Hospital Anderson. “It is safer to carry your child than to risk them standing up and tipping the cart.”

Amick said the injuries sustained from a fall out of an unattended shopping cart can be life threatening.

In fact, the most common injury received from a shopping cart fall is a head injury, according to the study. More than 78 percent of the reported injuries in the study involved head trauma.

“Only occasionally does the emergency center see children who have fallen from shopping carts,” said Kathi Wasilewski, director of the Emergency Center at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital. “To ensure the safety of children, we encourage parents to follow the instructions posted on shopping carts and store policies.”

Dr. Emi Bays, a pediatrician at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, said she often talks with parents about preventative care when it comes to shopping carts.

“They are really kid of dangerous,” Bays said. “Try not to put a child in one if you can avoid it.”

Bays said parents should try to find someone to care for a child when shopping or use strollers instead of shopping carts.

Kora Nadler, 39, of Middletown has two children, 6-year-old Korrine and 2-year-old Calvin and while she agrees Bays is providing sound advice, it isn’t realistic for her.

“If I had someone to watch my kids I would not bring them to the store and I can’t really see myself pushing a stroller and a cart at the same time,” Nadler said. “I don’t even know how physically that could happen.”

Adrienne Vollweiler, 26, of Anderson agreed with Nadler.

She said it is difficult to find care for her 3-year-old son when she and her husband go out, let alone when they are shopping. Vollweiler said she would like to see stronger safety regulations in place when it comes to shopping carts.

“Half of them don’t have the little straps in them or they have been broken off,” she said.

Amick said the current shopping cart standards are not adequate, especially in light of rising injuries. She said educating people about the dangers of shopping carts is important, but she would also like to see changes in the design of the shopping cart.

“I know kids, and kids are fast,” she said. “They can stand up and reach for a toy in a second and the store floors are made of concrete.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

Shopping Cart Injuries • Every day, about 66 children nationwide are treated in emergency departments for a shopping cart-related injury. • Injuries often occur when children fall from the cart or when the cart tips over. • Serious injuries including concussions, broken bones, or even death, can occur from shopping cart falls. • Head and neck injuries are among the more common reported shopping cart-related injuries. Source: Nationwide Children's Hospital