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Keeping Little Shoppers Safe

A supermarket is a tempting arena for children. And a frustrating one. All those bright packages--cookies, candy, toys--out of their reach because they're stuck riding in the seat of your shopping cart.

Turn your back for an instant, and your curious child probably won't hesitate to stand up and try to reach those goodies. With the hard floor below, it's an accident waiting to happen.

So, the number one rule when shopping with your children is to remember you're shopping with your children. Keep an eye on them at all times.

Most children injured in falls from shopping carts fall from a standing position, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The more serious injuries--head injuries and, in some cases, internal injuries--happen to children riding in the seat, the CPSC says. In some cases it isn't a fall, but a cart tip-over, that results in injury.

More than 80 percent of parents say they have left their young children unattended at least once during a shopping trip, the CPSC says.

The simplest way to prevent falls is to leave the children home, but that's not always possible. One suggestion made by researchers is that stores provide a child-care area. Until that idea catches on, make the following rules a habit every time you shop:

  • Find a cart with seat belts and use them to keep your child in the seat.

  • Never allow children to ride in the main part of the basket.

  • Never, ever leave your child unattended.