You take steps to protect your little one from injuries in the car, at home and at the playground. Make sure you’re putting just as much thought into keeping her safe at the grocery store.

You may not think your grocery store poses much of a threat to your child. Yet 20,332 emergency department visits every year are due to shopping cart injuries in children under the age of five, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Before your next trip to the store, brush up on these tips for safe shopping cart use:

  • The child seat is the best seat. Riding inside the cart, underneath it or on the side of the cart can cause the cart to tip over. Kids may also fall off the cart.

    “Choose a cart with a functioning seat belt or harness,” says Brittany Kaiser, certified child passenger safety technician and health education specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Buckle kids into the child seat. Kid-friendly carts shaped like trucks or fire engines are even better choices, if your store has them. They’re lower to the ground.”

  • Take five to disinfect. Very young kids will put their mouths just about anywhere. This can include the shopping cart handle. Use antibacterial wipes to clean your cart before you begin shopping. This helps prevent the spread of germs.
  • Never place car seats on top of the cart. Shopping with an infant younger than 6 months? Strap your baby into his car seat and place the car seat inside the cart.

Safety Stop at St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers more tips to keep your children safe. To make an appointment, call 314.454.KIDS (5437) or toll-free at 800.678.KIDS. Safety Stop is made possible by generous donations to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

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Expert Advice