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.
Image: Child in a shopping cart, via Shutterstock