I was startled to read that an average of 66 kids a day go to the emergency room for treatment after falling out of shopping carts. Those are just the ones that have to go to the ER, the study (done by the Columbus Ohio Children’s Hospital) didn’t take into accounts the accidents that didn’t require medical treatment, were treated on the scene and released, or who sought treatment at their personal doctor. If you added those, it would probably be closer to 100 injuries a day. As you can probably guess, most of the accidents involve kids falling out and hitting their heads. That was followed up by scrapes, bruises, and broken bones. Quite a few kids are injured when they pull stuff off the shelf on top of themselves.
The report stated that part of the problem was design and part of it was social. The design part is that carts in America are designed to be big and easy to push, they are not designed for safety. That means there is plenty of room for lots of groceries and a hopped up 2 year old. Carts in Europe, where shopping cart accidents involving kids are almost nil, are very small and most are designed to be dragged behind you. The ones with wheels are very low to the ground. I’ve put some pictures of some european type carts below.
The social differences is that we love big box stores and buying in bulk so we NEED our big ol’ American land yacht buggies. Europeans typically go to the store (more of a market) about 3-4 times a week, we like to go once a week and knock it out. We really can’t get away from that mentality, it’s just how we roll. But the doctors behind the study caution parents to always always always watch their child while they are in the cart and to not leave them unattended even for a second. They offer the helpful suggestion of using a really cheap reward for kids obeying the “Behind” rule (as in Sit on it!) and for not standing. As much as it’s aggravating to us for them to want everything they see, a little pocket puzzle or a piece of fruit or gum might not be the worst bribe you’ll ever give your kid and it may save you the scare of your life.
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