In this Mythbusters article I’m going to touch on something that’s been discussed before. It may be somewhat of a rerun but given the incredibly common practice I think it’s due time.
Myth – It is safe to place your infant seat on the top portion of a shopping cart, especially when it clicks into place.
Many people view this as truth because, well, everyone does it. Surely if it is that awful and dangerous then you wouldn’t see every infant in the store chilling in their car seat on the cart every time you go to Target, right? Plus it clicks in! It’s meant to be placed there!
This next paragraph may be a total spoiler but I suspect you already know the answer anyway since I’m running a blog post on it.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.gov), between 2008 and 2012 there were approximately 107,300 shopping cart related injuries treated in kids under the age of 5. Of these cases, 85% were head/facial injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics shows that, between 2003 and 2007, approximately 43,562 infants were treated in emergency rooms for being injured while in a car seat that was not in use in a vehicle. 84.3% were head injuries, the majority of them being due to either the infant falling out of the car seat or the car seat falling from an elevated surface.
I know the following scenarios are disturbing to imagine, but I feel like they will illustrate how easy this can happen to anyone.
Case 1: You just wrapped up grocery shopping. Your baby is snoozing happily in his infant seat on the cart. You’re pushing the cart through the parking lot to your car and you cruise over a speed bump. The infant seat that clicked perfectly into that spot on the cart 30 minutes earlier pops off the cart and topples to the ground. Your sweet baby slams head first onto the pavement from 4 feet up in the air, with the additional weight of the car seat on top of him.
Case 2: You’re shopping at Target with your newborn and your crazy toddler. You have your baby in his car seat on the cart but you ALWAYS have one hand on him. Except when your toddler knocks off some containers of baby puffs from the shelf on the floor. You bend over for just a second to pick them up. Your toddler wants to kiss your baby’s feet and pulls up on the cart handle to reach. The cart tips over and the baby goes face first onto the concrete floor, cart on top of him, not to mention the crush your toddler is going to get too.
Sadly, I didn’t make those up.
If you want to spare yourself the nightmare, please use the car seat IN THE CAR. Not outside of it. I know it’s handy when they’re napping, but it’s just so easy to temporarily sit them on a counter, a table, or a shopping cart. Yes they make little docks on shopping carts designed for infant seats, but shopping carts tip so unbelievably easy that it’s just not worth the risk. If you need to place a car seat in a shopping cart then place it in the big part of the cart. I know that defeats the purpose of the cart, but that’s really the only solution here.
Obviously this myth is busted. Break the cycle and share with those you know. Your kid is going to have plenty of opportunities to get hurt…here’s one you can avoid.