Target announced this week that most of its stores will have Caroline's Carts for kids with special needs by mid-March.

By Jamie Pacton
February 09, 2016
Jamie and L in Target
Credit: Courtesy Jamie Pacton

Target is my family's favorite shopping destination; but, once my autistic son got too big to ride in conventional shopping carts, even a short trip was tough. While my son is helpful and engaged, he also struggles with sensory overload. This has produced some epic meltdowns while shopping, though, luckily, the Targets in our area have had carts for kids with special needs for months. These carts have really made shopping easier and more fun for my family, and I'm excited to announce that by mid-March, Target plans to have carts like this in almost all their retail stores.


The carts are called Caroline's Carts, and they feature a small shopping basket with a large, comfortable chair in the front. They also have a four-point buckling system, which can be adjusted for kids and adults.

Family shopping
Credit: Courtesy Jamie Pacton

Caroline's Carts were invented by Drew Ann Long, a mother whose daughter has special needs. Long wanted to create a cart that would benefit her daughter and many other kids. Target heard about the carts from an employee whose child has special needs, and after receiving heaps of positive feedback from parents (like me) who have been using these carts in select locations, Target decided to bring Caroline's Carts to all their stores (except the smallest ones where there are no carts).

L and E w cart
Credit: Courtesy Jamie Pacton

I'm looking forward to seeing these carts in Target stores across the nation—trust me, you're going to LOVE them—and I hope that many other retailers join Target in making life a bit easier and more accessible for people with disabilities and their families.

Jamie Pacton lives near Portland where she drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at and Twitter @jamiepacton.