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Shopping Cart Accidents More Common Than You Think

Temporarily set aside concerns about lice, childhood obesity, pre-pubescent dancers, and online predators. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there’s something else parents should be worried about…the hidden dangers of shopping carts.

Believe it or not, shopping cart accidents result in 23,000 child visits to the emergency room every year, according to the AAP.

And presumably, that’s not even counting the germs your kids get from touching the cart handle. Personally, I find it a bit absurd that grocery stores now provide customers with cart sanitizers. But, that’s another story.

In case you’re concerned about possible shopping cart accidents, the AAP has some tips for shopping cart safety. Number one on their list is to skip the cart altogether and put your kid in a stroller or baby carrier instead of a cart. But what’s the fun of that? What kid doesn’t love riding in a shopping cart?

If you go ahead and risk your child’s life by putting them in a cart, the AAP urges you to check to be sure the child is strapped in with a harness or safety belt. I realize that I just wrote about how important it is to strap babies into a seat on an airplane, but a shopping cart doesn’t travel at the same speed.

They also advise you to never leave your child unattended in a shopping cart. But, isn’t that the purpose of the cart in the first place? To entertain your kid so you can roam the aisles looking for your favorite cereal?

This one is a no-brainer: never let your kid to stand up in the cart. I’m onboard with that bit of advice. Ditto for this one: don’t put an infant carrier on top of the cart. I sort of hope those ones are pretty obvious, but I can’t say I haven’t seen it done.

They also advise against letting your kid sit inside the basket of the cart, but, again, what kid doesn’t like cruising around the store with the groceries? And don’t let one of your kids push another kid. They might have too much fun.

And then there’s the final tip: Don’t let your child climb on or hang from a cart. A shopping cart is not a jungle gym. It is a dangerous machine.

You have been warned.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joethorn/

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