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66 Children Injured in Shopping Carts Every Day - Researchers, Personal Injury Attorneys Call for Higher Standards

Posted by appsoftdev on January 24, 2014

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Any parent knows that grocery shopping with kids in tow can be a stressful task. Now, a survey by researchers at Ohio's Nationwide Children's Hospital confirms it can be a dangerous affair, too. The study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics shows that every 22 minutes in the United States, a child is injured in a shopping cart. That's 66 children a day - more than 24,000 a year. As a result, researchers and personal injury attorneys are calling for improved standards in the design and manufacture of shopping carts.

Researchers found that between 1999 and 2011, more than 534,000 children age 14 and younger were admitted to the hospital because of a shopping cart injury, typically because of falls or collisions but often because shopping carts lack adequate safety features. Among the troubling statistics:

  • Children age 3 and younger accounted for upwards of 85 percent of the injuries sustained;
  • More than 70 percent of shopping cart-related injuries were caused by falls out of the carts, followed by running into a cart or carts tipping over; 
  • 78 percent of injuries were to the head - the most commonly injured part of the body in shopping cart incidents.

Unfortunately, voluntary shopping cart safety standards that took effect in 2004 have failed to curb the problem. In fact, the number of concussions sustained each year by children in shopping cart accidents increased from 3,483 to 12,333 during that time span - that's an increase of almost 90 percent. So, it's no wonder that safety and standardization experts have long criticized the current published standards, pointing out that they fail to adequately address cart stability or the proper testing of restraint systems and buckles.

Clearly those measures, which primarily included warning labels and safety reminders posted on shopping carts, are not enough. The trouble is that small children are top-heavy and their center of gravity is high. Plus, as any parent knows, they're wiggle-worms. Add the fact that their arms are not strong enough to break a fall and you understand why head injuries are a top risk.

Study researchers now are calling for stronger shopping cart safety standards and design requirements that will more effectively prevent falls from shopping carts and cart tip-overs. Meanwhile, there are precautions that parents and guardians can take to help protect their littlest shoppers:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a shopping cart and keep an eye on them at all times, insisting that they be still and remain seated. A fall, tip-over or collision can happen in an instant; 
  • Check to make sure that the shopping cart's restraint belt and buckle are in good working order and use them properly;
  • Make sure that your child's legs are placed through the leg openings, making it tougher for him or her to reposition and attempt to stand up; 
  • If available, choose a shopping cart that seats your child lower to the ground. Many stores offer carts designed to look like trains, racecars, etc. These not only place your child nearer the ground, reducing the fall risk, but they tend to prove more entertaining for small children, increasing the likelihood that they'll voluntarily stay put; 
  • Never place an infant's car seat atop a shopping cart. Buckles designed to attach car seats to shopping carts have been discontinued after proving ineffective in preventing tip-overs and falls.

If your child is injured in a shopping cart-related incident, report it to the store and get medical help for your child immediately. Then, contact a reputable personal injury attorney. Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates are available at any hour and can be reached at 407-999-8995 in Orlando or 407-847-7277 in Kissimmee.