Paul Giampavolo founded Safe-Strap in 1983, but his commitment to child safety was born years earlier as a 16-year-old working at his neighborhood grocery store. While Paul stocked paper towels in aisle three of the ShopRite in Dumont, N.J. one afternoon, he saw a small child stand up in a nearby shopping cart seat and begin to teeter. Realizing the child’s parents were nowhere in sight, Paul dropped what he was doing and ran to the cart, grabbing the child just as he was about to fall.
Though startling at the time, Paul forgot about the incident until he turned on the evening news after work, a decade later in 1982. That’s when he learned shopping cart injuries were widespread. The Consumer Product Safety Commission had released a report on the thousands of children that fell from shopping carts each year. Instantly, Paul’s memory of saving the falling child in the grocery store came back to him.
After years in the Navy, Paul was now a marketing manager responsible for new product development. He immediately drafted a business plan to create and market shopping cart seat belts. After months of research, Paul submitted the plan to his company, which rejected the idea, finding it too risky. Confident in the concept and its importance, Paul resigned his position and started his own business – Safe-Strap.
Following Safe-Strap’s initial launch with Weis Markets, retailers lined up to install seat belts in their shopping carts. Fast-forward 30 years and the original Safe-Strap remains the most widely distributed shopping cart seat belt in the world. Since then, with each of its subsequent innovations – including Shop-Along, a seating system for older children, Safe-Dock, the first universal infant car seat docking station for shopping carts, and Fall-Stop, a new shopping cart restraint designed for small children – Safe-Strap has been committed to advancing retail safety for children. “We were honored when Safe-Strap received the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Chairman’s Commendation for Significant Contributions to Child Safety in 1996,” said Paul Giampavolo, Safe-Strap founder and president. “But I’m even prouder of the positive impact Safe-Strap has made over the years for the millions of parents who shop with small children.”