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Number of children being hurt by shopping carts increasing: study

January 22, 2014

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Columbus, OH – The number and rate of shopping cart injuries among children have continued to rise even after a voluntary safety standard was adopted in 2004, according to a new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, researchers estimated that 530,494 children younger than 15 were injured by shopping carts between 1990 and 2011. Falling from a shopping cart caused the majority of injuries (70.4 percent), followed by running into/falling over the cart, cart tip-overs and entrapment of a limb, according to a press release.

Almost 80 percent of injuries were to the head, which usually were soft-tissue injuries. However, the rate of concussions and internal head injuries jumped to 12,333 in 2011 from 3,483 in 1990 – an increase of more than 200 percent.

Researchers called for stronger safety cart standards and design changes to prevent tip-overs and falls from shopping carts. In addition, Nationwide Children’s Hospital offered the following suggestions for adults shopping with young kids:

  • Avoid placing your child in a shopping cart when possible.
  • Never use carts with broken or missing restraint systems.
  • Use the shopping cart safety straps and place your child’s legs through the leg openings.
  • Make sure your child remains seated.
  • Stay with your child and the cart.
  • Do not put infant carriers on top of shopping carts.

The study was published in the January issue ofClinical Pediatrics.