Shopping cart-related injuries on the rise
Despite strict safety standards, the number of kids injured in shopping cart accidents is on the rise, according to new research.
A study done by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, found that more than a half million children were injured between 1990 through 2011, across the U.S.
That’s more than 24,000 children annually, or about 66 children per day or one child every 22 minutes treated in an emergency room, study leaders noted.
The number of injuries rose from 3,483 in 1990 to more than 12,000 in 2011. Kids ages 0 to 4 years accounted for most of the cases. The study results were published in Clinical Pediatrics.
“The findings from our study show that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate,” said study leader Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in a news release. “Not only have the overall number of child injuries associated with shopping carts not decreased since implementation of the safety standards, but the number of concussions and closed head injuries is actually increasing. It is time we take action to protect our children by strengthening shopping cart safety standards with requirements that will more effectively prevent tip-overs and falls from shopping carts.”
Falling from carts was the most common accident resulting in head injuries in nearly 80 percent of the incidents. Kids running into the carts, cart tip-overs and limbs getting caught were also reported.
Study leaders said that design changes that include moving the child seat lower to the floor would help reduce tip-overs. They also recommended more robust restraint systems and pushing safety education for parents.
Parents and caregivers should never leave children unattended, even for a moment, researchers said. Parents should also consider not putting their kids in shopping carts at all but opt for other alternatives like strollers.
“It is important for parents to understand that shopping carts can be a source of serious injury for their children,” said Dr. Smith. “However, they can reduce the risk of injury by taking a few simple steps of precaution, such as always using the shopping cart safety belts if their child needs to ride in the cart.”
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