Store shopping carts are the culprits in an average of 66 child injuries each day in the U.S., a new study by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The injuries amount to one every 22 minutes--and they are so severe that they warrant trips to the emergency room for 24,000 children each year. More from NBC News:
The problem hasn't gotten better since voluntary shopping cart safety standards took effect in 2004. In fact, since then, the annual number of concussions tied to shopping carts in children younger than 15 jumped nearly 90 percent, according to a new analysis of data from 1990 to 2011 by Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide's Center for Injury Research and Policy.
"This is a setup for a major injury," Smith said. "The major group we are concerned about are children under 5." His study is published in the January issue of the journal Clinical Pediatrics.
Kids ages newborn to 4 accounted for nearly 85 percent of the injuries. More than 70 percent of the harm was caused by falls out of shopping carts, followed by running into a cart or carts tipping over.
It only takes a moment for a parent to look away for a shopping cart accident to happen, Smith said. A wiggly baby in an infant seat or a toddler reaching for a bright box of cereal can easily cause a fall that results in serious injury. Children's center of gravity is high, their heads are heavy and they don't have enough arm strength to break a fall, Smith explained.
The researchers recommend parents choose carts with low-to-the-ground child seats (these often come in fun shapes like cars or fire engines), and remain vigilant if they have to use regular cart seats.
Click here for more guidelines to help keep your child safe around the house.
Baby Care Basics: Baby Accidents
Image: Child in a shopping cart, via Shutterstock