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If you want to learn how to put car seat in shopping cart safely, then this guide is exactly what you need. You have to go grocery shopping, don’t have time to find a sitter, and don’t have a baby pouch or other way to carry your infant as you stroll the aisles at Walmart or Target.
The only thing that you have at your disposal is your car seat. You’ve read the stories, you’ve heard the warnings, and yet as parents, we’ve all done it or at least thought of doing it. How much harm could it really do to put your child in a car seat atop your shopping cart just this one time?
That being said, you never want to be “That Parent” either. We live in a golden age of Parent Shaming with social media allowing people to opine on parents’ faux pas as never before. On the one hand, it can occasionally be excessive but on the other hand, it can often be warranted. If there’s one thing that’s sure to rile parents, it’s one of their own putting kids in danger through ignorance or negligence.
There are alternatives to putting your child in a car seat in a shopping cart but if you’re in a pinch, it can be too convenient to pass up. Still, you don’t want to put your child in danger, which is why you’ll want to follow this guide if you want to learn how to put car seat in shopping cart safely.
The fear that something might go wrong if you put your child into a car seat atop your shopping cart in the wrong way is hardly a merely theoretical one. The journal Clinical Pediatrics published a 2014 report stating that as many as 24,000 children wind up in the emergency room each year due to shopping cart-related injuries.
Those aren’t the only statistics that should catch your attention with The American Academy of Pediatrics reporting 10,000 kids treated in emergency room visits due to car seat-related injuries not simply from use but “misuse.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission released their own study on the subject, which found falls from shopping carts to be among the leading causes of cranial and neck injuries in children with 16% of such cases involving car seats and carriers.
As with the other reports, however, the big culprit here isn’t shopping carts or car seats themselves but rather their “misuse,” which is what leads to the falls and injuries.
The matter is a big enough problem at the federal government has gotten involved, recommending in 2004 that the safety standards for shopping carts be raised. Store owners have taken initiative as well, striving to improve the quality of their carts. Even so, as you can tell from those numbers, cart-related accidents involving kids remain a big problem.
That’s because, by and large, it isn’t the carts that are the problem but the manner in which we as parents use or, rather, misuse them in conjunction with car seats while shopping.
Shopping Cart and Car Seat Conundrums
The leading cause of car seat shopping cart injuries results from the manner in which parents place the seats atop the carts. To begin with, putting your shopping cart atop the cart at all is highly problematic. The whole point of a car seat is to provide your child with a safely secured seat in which to ride around. Placing the car seat unsupported and unsecured atop the car seat means that it’s apt to wobble around, which can all too easily lead to the seat simply wobbling and out of the cart and onto the floor.
What’s more, shopping carts are not built to handle an extra-large load, let alone one that peaks over the top of the cart. Anyone who has ever filled up a shopping cart knows that a heavier cart means a more unwieldy one with items piled on atop the heavy pile being all too likely to tumble out or, worse, topple the whole thing.
This is what can make placing your car seat atop a shopping cart so dangerous. Without properly securing that car seat, you risk the whole thing becoming top-heavy, sending your child and possibly the whole cart tumbling to the floor with disastrous consequences.
How To Put Car Seat In Shopping Cart Safely
Now that we’ve established the danger of improperly mixing shopping carts and car seats, let’s take a moment to outline a few basic tips when it comes to marrying the two.
For starters, you never want to let your child stand in the shopping cart. As stated, one of the biggest dangers of placing your child in a shopping cart is the possibility of it toppling over. The risk of this happening is increased with an unsecured car seat but it’s also quite dangerous to allow children to stand as this can likewise cause the cart to become top heavy and topple over. What’s more, allowing them to stand can lead to their extremities getting caught in the cart.
When you place your child in a shopping cart, with or without a car seat, be sure to lower the seat as much as possible so as to best avoid that aforementioned top-heaviness problem.
Nothing riles good parents more than a negligent one. Being a parent is a full-time job and an incredibly exhausting one at that. No parent is ever going to succeed at watching his or her child 100% of the time. Even so, when you’re shopping and place your child in a cart, you need to watch constantly lest he or she start doing something dangerous.
You also want to always make sure to buckle any and all straps that the shopping cart and car seat may provide. Those buckles and straps are there for a reason, after all. As stated, one of the biggest dangers to putting a car seat atop a shopping cart is the fact that the latter is not secured. Buckling those straps can help ensure that your child is secured in place, reducing the risk of tumbling out.
Shopping Cart Docks
So you now know all the risks associated with putting your child in a car seat and placing it atop a shopping cart. You’re convinced that this is not a safe move and you’ll abstain in the future.
So what should you do instead?
Car seat and parenting goods companies have recognized the temptation for parents to place their car seats in shopping carts as a convenient way to keep them handy whilst shopping. That’s why these companies have set about developing and releasing car seat docks. These are specifically designed with the end goal of eliminating many of the safety hazards of placing your child’s car seat in a shopping cart.
These docks feature a slim yet sturdy cradle-like shape that fits snuggly into the car seat slot in a shopping cart. Simply place the car seat dock there and your car seat atop that and secure everything in place with the buckles and straps provided. The dock keeps your child’s car seat firmly in place while a harness keeps your child buckled in tightly.
Taken together with the low placement inside the shopping cart, these docks eliminate the fear of a wobbly car seat toppling out of the cart or a top-heavy cart falling over altogether.
An awareness of the risks of shopping with an unsecured car seat and these car seat docks can allow you to leave the world of Parent Shaming behind as you shop with pride and the fullest convenience with your child safely in tow.