July 02, 2015

Q: How do I place the car seat into a grocery cart safely for shopping trips? Is there a better way to take my baby grocery shopping?

A: Each year, there are thousands of kid-related shopping cart injuries, but there are some simple tips to help help prevent them. Avoid putting your child in a car seat and then setting the car seat on top of the shopping cart, as this can increase the risk of injury.

Babies should not ride in the seat of the shopping cart until they can sit on their own without support, typically around 6 months. If they do ride in the cart, make sure they meet its weight requirements and always restrain them with the belt provided in most carts.  Infants and children should never ride in the main basket, as they could fall within the cart or out of it. There are many seat inserts available on the market to line the cart and help support your child. When using these inserts, you should still keep your child restrained by the liner's or the cart's belt.

Finally, make sure to never leave your child unattended since carts do not have a full harness restraint like car seats do. Carrying your infant in a commercial baby carrier may be a more convenient and safer alternative, especially if she is not large enough to sit on her own in the cart.

Answered by Mark R. Zonfrillo, M.D.