Mythbusters: Can Infant Car Seats “Click” Into Shopping Carts?

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Anyone who has had a baby in an infant car seat has faced the grocery store dilemma- what to do with baby while you’re shopping? Especially a sleeping baby. And I know we’ve all seen what seems like the easiest answer- putting the infant seat, with baby, into the top part of the grocery basket.

There are signs posted on the infant seat and virtually every car seat manual says that you shouldn’t do this, but, is it really as unsafe as the signs lead us to believe? Is there a reason we can’t make use of this incredibly useful position for baby? Let’s find out.

MYTH: Infant car seats can safely “click” into the tops of shopping carts if you hear an audible “click.”

First, I would like to clarify that yes, there once was a seat that specified in the manual that you could do this (the Baby Trend Flex-Loc), however, the current manual does not allow it. So let’s set aside that seat/manual for the remainder of this discussion because it’s no longer true of that model of car seat.

As CPSTs, we counsel parents on this one quite a bit, mostly because nearly every infant seat manual specifically states not to put the car seat on top of the shopping cart. But do we know that it’s actually dangerous? The answer is sort of.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has put forth a document describing the injuries to children related to grocery charts from birth to age of 5. Within that report, they state that

“Of the 12 incidents reported as falls, three involved a car seat with the child in it falling from the shopping cart; of these three incidents, one was a fatality and one involved a hospitalization. The fatality occurred when a 3-month-old boy fell while secured in a car seat that was not secured to the shopping cart after the cart was pushed over a speed bump in the parking lot.”

More on that terrible tragedy in a moment. It further states that,

“There were nine incidents coded as “other,” covering a range of hazards. Five of the reports concerned failures or inadequacies of the restraints in the shopping cart seat (including one involving a car seat); none resulted in injuries.”

So, it’s clear that a car seat improperly placed on a grocery cart can cause injury to an infant. Upon further searching, the single death cited by the CPSC did involve an infant seat in the top of the grocery cart. In a news report on the child’s death they report that the seat was placed in the part of the car closest to the push bar, where a toddler might sit, which is precisely the myth we are discussing.

Just in terms of design, a cart can be very top heavy if not properly balanced. Anyone who has tried to stand on the bottom basket while pushing has felt that tipping motion and you can imagine if you have a 20 pound child in a 12 pound car seat, it wouldn’t take much for the cart to tip and the child to be injured. But I think there’s another piece to consider.

Your rear facing only car seat is made to click into one style base. You cannot put a Graco infant seat in a Chicco base because the locking mechanisms are not interchangeable. And the same is true for an infant seat and a grocery cart. You may hear an audible “click” but that does not mean that the seat is actually locked in because you have no way of knowing if the shape of the grocery cart is similar to the shape of your infant seat base. The part of this is that because the shape of a grocery cart won’t be the same as the shape of your base, trying to click it onto the cart might actually ruin the locking mechanism of your car seat. And you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see that or know that it wasn’t working until it was stressed by a crash.

Yet another hazard is a potentially broken shopping cart. The carts are used by dozens of people each day and they will break down over time. How terrifying would it be if this was your car seat with your child in it?

And last but not least, car seats are not meant to be used for long durations outside of the car. I know it’s convenient, believe me, I’m guilty of using my car seat for a few more errands than I should, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Car seats are meant to be at a very specific angle and if they are too upright, as they often are in strollers and grocery carts (especially when in the top of the cart) baby may not be able to breathe properly. And, obviously less seriously, excessive use of infant car seats can result in flattening of the back of baby’s head (brachycephaly), which may require use of a head orthosis to correct later on.

VERDICT: Between every manual and grocery cart forbidding it, the CPSC report and the potential to break your car seat, I think we can call this one BUSTED. Even if your car seat seems to “click” into the cart, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to be left there.

If you need to take your baby grocery shopping, you have a few safer options than the top of the cart. You can wear baby in a carrier or sling, you can bring baby in a regular stroller and use the stroller basket as your cart (this is what we do the most), or if you really need to use your infant car seat, you can place it in the big part of the grocery cart and put the rest of the groceries elsewhere. But the best option in my opinion is to get someone to babysit so you can stroll the aisles, childfree, as if you’re on vacation. Not that I do that or anything!

Please please please, don’t put your infant car seat in the top of a grocery cart. It may seem secure, but it only takes a split second for your infant to become a statistic.

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Baby Jogger City GO Infant Carseat Giveaway – The Blogiversary Celebration Continues!

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It’s our 8th “Blogiversary” but this celebration isn’t about us – it’s about you! We are thankful to have so many awesome readers and followers who all care deeply about keeping kids safe. We want to reward you for supporting us throughout these past 8 years and we know the best reward is another fabulous giveaway promotion!

This week the celebration continues with a Baby Jogger City GO Infant Carseat Giveaway courtesy of our generous sponsor, Graco!  Winner will have their choice of GO fashions currently in stock at Graco/Baby Jogger.

This promotion is now closed. Congratulations to our winner: Lara L. from AL.

Baby Jogger City GO Specs:

  • 4-35 lbs.
  • 32″ or less

Baby Jogger City Go - lifestyle Baby Jogger City Go - side

Features:

  • No-rethread harness (15 height positions)
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Adjustable base (6 positions)
  • Premium push-on LATCH connectors
  • Lock-off on base for installations using seatbelt
  • Can be installed without base using European belt path routing
  • Extended UV50+ canopy
  • FAA approved for use in an airplane

How to Enter Baby Jogger City GO Giveaway:

  • Leave us a comment below (required to be eligible to win), then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself.
  • For extra entries, be sure follow the Rafflecopter instructions to visit our Facebook page, visit the Baby Jogger Facebook page and tweet about the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print – winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on August 21, 2016, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new

4moms Self-Installing Infant Car Seat Preview – the future has arrived!

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4moms Self-Installing Car Seat

4moms - carseat with baby in vehicle 

The 4moms infant car seat is expected to ship by late September 2016. 

Features:
  • 4-30 lbs., up to 32” or head 1” below top of headrest
  • Base auto-levels and auto-tensions
  • Continuous monitoring while carrier is on base
  • No re-thread harness
  • 8 position adjustable headrest
  • Buckle tongs covered by plastic
  • Smooth harness adjuster
  • Buckle pockets to keep harness out of the way
  • Extra-large canopy with peekaboo window
  • Infant insert for 4-11 lbs.
  • Can be installed without base using Euro belt path routing
  • Machine washable cover
  • 2 year warranty
  • MSRP $499.99

4moms adjustable headrest 4moms harness open side view

An app, initially available for iPhone users—available for Android users in a few months—continuously checks that the base is correctly tensioned, the lower LATCH connectors are correctly attached, the recline angle is appropriate, the carrier is correctly affixed to the base, the battery life is satisfactory, and the child is within the correct size range. The app also offers tips and tricks on different installation types, such as a baseless installation, how to adjust the harness, and how to replace the batteries on the base.

4moms app 4moms app2

The base requires 8 D-sized batteries, but it is designed to last for the regular use of one child. Of course, each child grows at a different rate, so your mileage may vary. To install the base, you attach the lower LATCH connectors then press a button on the side of the base. The programming ticks through steps that check whether or not the LATCH connectors are securely attached to the vehicle’s LATCH anchors, the tension in the LATCH strap is correct, and the recline angle is correct. If any of these things are off, you’ll either be notified by an alarm (in the case of the lower anchors not being attached) or the base will automatically be installed. Don’t worry about needing a rolled towel or stack of noodles: the adjustable foot on the base can accommodate even the deepest of sloped bucket seats. And never fear! You can install the base manually and with the seat belt if you choose.

4moms recommends leaving the handle in the “up” position in the car—plop the carrier in the base and go. The carrier can also be installed baseless using European bethpath routing. The included infant insert is mandatory until baby weighs 8 lbs. and must come out once baby weighs 11 lbs. Accessories will initially include a foot muff and all-weather cover. The carrier weighs 10 lbs.

4moms in Model X

The carseat is available for order now directly from 4moms and will be available in stores in late September. Compatible strollers include the 4moms moxi stroller, Baby Jogger® City Mini® and City Mini® GT, Bugaboo®Cameleon3, and UPPAbaby® Vista® and Cruz® when used with an adapter, which is sold separately.

4moms moxi

The 4moms Infant Car Seat is available in grey and black for $499.

4 moms - black and grey

Clek Foonf & Fllo Cover Flame-Retardant Notification

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fllo-flamingoClek has issued a notice regarding the covers of certain 2014* model year Foonf and Fllo car seats.  They were described as not containing chlorinated flame retardants, but may contain the chemicals. This is NOT a recall, it is a customer satisfaction campaign.  There is no safety issue involved and these products remain fully appropriate for their intended use in the vehicle.  Clek is alerting impacted consumers that their seats were described incorrectly, and the company will provide replacement covers that do not contain chlorinated chemicals.

This notification is for certain Clek Foonf and Clek Fllo seats. You can check to see if your seat is impacted by first identifying the style of your Clek Foonf or Fllo seat. Styles possibly impacted are:

  • 2014 model year Foonf seats with Flamingo, Snowberry, Tank, Dragonfly, Ink, Blue Moon, Shadow, or Tokidoki (Rebel, All-Over, Travel) colors, and 
  • Fllo model seats with the Flamingo color manufactured in 2014.

If you have one of these seats, remove the fabric from the cushion of the seat and look for the 10-digit code (e.g. 104576D-FMO). If the digit immediately following the dash is a C or D, your cover may have been incorrectly described and may contain chlorinated flame retardants. If the digit is E or F, your seat was properly described and is not impacted.  Please see Clek’s updated notice to see if your 2014 model year Foonf or Fllo is affected.

*Please note that some 2014 model year seats have a manufacturing date in late 2013 and these were most likely to be affected.

You can also visually check the padding sewn to the bottom of the seat pad. Impacted seats (like the one pictured below) have a foam material that is not sewn to the cover at the hole for the crotch buckle.

2013 clek cover

Seats that were properly described (and therefore aren’t impacted) contain a woven fibrous material that feels like cotton batten. This fabric might or might not be sewn to the holes around the crotch buckle holes, depending on when it was manufactured. Seats that are not impacted look like this.

2015 clek cover 2014 clek cover

If you have an impacted seat, you can call or email Clek’s customer service at 1-866-656-2462 or customerservice@clekinc. If you have registered your seat and it is one of the impacted models, Clek will automatically send a replacement cover.

Because this is NOT a safety recall, consumers can continue using their seats as usual.

Remember that all seats need to meet federal flammability standards, and currently that standard can’t be met without the use of flame-retardant chemicals. Some companies have moved away from (or never used) certain types of chemicals, like chlorinated or brominated flame retardants, instead opting for chemicals considered “safer.” Chlorinated flame retardants can be used in car seats, but the issue with these Clek seats is that they were described as not containing the chlorinated chemicals when they may actually contain them.

We have written before about flame-retardant chemicals and why they concern some consumers:

Flame Retardants Got You Hot?

Should You Toss Your Toxic Car Seat?