Shopping cart safety, our children, and what we can do to prevent falls and injury
In my pre-parenting life, the top of the shopping cart was reserved for eggs, bread, and my sometimes clunky purse. Now as a mom, I look at the shopping cart quite differently. I look at a trip to the supermarket from a new perspective entirely.
It is not so much about the children shivering through the two frozen food aisles or the occasional wailing outburst. It is not about the few snarky shoppers with their unkind comments about kids. It isn’t even about the sad fact that I sometimes resort to shaking down the deli guy for three slices of white American to bribe my brood to make it to the checkout peacefully. What it is about is safety.
Each year, there are over 24,000 visits to the emergency room involving children who have sustained injuries from a shopping cart. That is a staggering number. The saddest part about this statistic is that some of these hospital visits involve head trauma, serious injury, and death.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Paul Giampavolo. Paul may not be a household name but he has had a tremendous impact on the evolution of safer shopping carts.
Paul’s story began in 1972 in a ShopRite in Dumont, NJ. Paul was stocking shelves when he ran to the aid of a toddler falling from a shopping cart. The child was uninjured but Paul never forgot that incident.
A decade later, Giampavolo was watching a television segment on shopping cart falls and children. Paul remembered what he had witnessed working in the grocery store and he came up with an idea. He conceptualized a safety belt for shopping carts.
Paul Giampavolo worked on a design. He tirelessly worked to let stores know how necessary these safety belts are. Today, Giampavolo is President of Safe Strap Co in Wharton, NJ. His vision led to the design and mass production of safety belts for all shopping carts. Safe Strap continues to pioneer the design of a variety of safe products. Safe Strap manufactures a dock for infant carriers, baby changing stations, and a pallet guard. Paul is also the Chairman of ASTM International Committee on Consumer Products.
Shopping cart related accidents continue to occur. It is important as parents, grandparents, and caretakers, that we to know how to keep our children safe in the retail world. Paul has some great suggestions on how we can reduce the risk of injury.
For very small infants, never balance your car seat on top of the shopping cart. Never place the car seat inside the basket of the cart.
If you intend to bring your baby and the car seat inside the store, look for a safe-dock attached to the cart. They are made of hard plastic and the docks resemble the shape of a car seat. They have a hard buckle to which you can attach and safely lock your infant carrier or car seat to the cart.
If you are not sure what stores may have these safe-docks or are looking for a store with these safety features, visit shoppingcartsafety.com and enter your zip code. You will be directed to stores that have these features.
If you wish a store had safe-docks, let a store manager know. Retailers often value your feedback. You can also send them an email through the website shoppingcartsafety.com to let them know you would like to see these features at their store.
When shopping with a toddler or small child, make certain you select a shopping cart that has a working safety strap. Make certain that both straps are there and the buckle is in working order. If the buckle is broken or cracked, select another cart.
Do not allow even the most agile of children to sit or stand in the basket of the cart.
Never permit a child to push other children in the cart. Children should not child climb in and out of the cart either.
Never let your child lie down near or in front of a shopping cart.
Avoid allowing your child to stand on the front, side, or back of the cart. Arms and legs can become pinched or caught. Children can slide under the wheels. Children have been killed by a shopping cart tipping over.
Never leave your child unsupervised near or inside the cart.
If you have more than one child with you, locate a cart that has a pretend car that they can ride in or a separate attached area for children. You may feel like you need a commercial driver’s license to operate some of these carts but they are much safer for your family.
Parents are not perfect. All parents make mistakes. Sharing information on the most up-to-date safe practices, however, can help to reduce injury to our children and make our stores safer for our smallest, most vulnerable consumers.
Article from NJ.com