Car Seats and Shopping Carts: What You Need to Know

By Rachel Rosenberg

You've probably seen this scene a dozen times and have probably done it once or twice yourself, placing baby’s car seats atop shopping carts. Here is some information that may make you reconsider placing the car seat on the shopping cart next time you head to the store.

shopping-card-and-carseats
It may seem safe since we’ve all seen car seats on top of the shopping cart in the grocery store. But putting a car seat on top of a shopping cart is actually more dangerous than you think. On average, there are 24,000 shopping cart related injuries every year (Martin, 2014). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “parents and caregivers should never place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart (2006).” When a car seat is on top of a shopping cart, even if it seems to be clipped on, the cart becomes top-heavy and the center of gravity of the shopping cart changes. Because of this, it increases the chance of the cart tipping over and injuring the child.

Most infant car seat manufacturers provide specific warnings that recommend NEVER placing an infant carrier in or on top of shopping carts. This is in addition to the labeling provided on shopping carts to never place a car seat on top of a shopping cart. The good news is that these kinds of injuries are 100% preventable. 

So what can parents do to keep their child safe while shopping? 

  • Try using a baby carrier or other sling to keep your baby safely near you while your hands are free to shop. 
  • Most car seats come with a travel system stroller that the car seat can safely attach to. 
  • Consider using your stroller and putting groceries in the bottom compartment. 
  • Or, you could shop with a partner, relative, or friend. All options will keep your baby safe from shopping carts and provide you with peace of mind.

If you have other questions about car seat safety, visit our Child Health and Safety site. 

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics (2006). Shopping cart-related injuries to children. PEDIATRICS, 118(2), 825-827.
Martin, K. J., Chounthirath, T., Xiang, H., & Smith, G. A. (2014). Pediatric shopping-cart-related injuries treated in US emergency departments, 1990-2011. Clinical Pediatrics, 53(3), 277-285.