How can a simple trip to the store end up with a trip to the emergency room? Failing to heed warnings about shopping cart safety could lead to a child injury. It happens more often than people realize.
On average, 24,000 children are injured and require medical attention in an emergency department every year in the United States as a result of a shopping cart accident, a study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. That’s 66 children per day.
These numbers are despite voluntary safety standards implemented in 2004. In fact, internal head injuries and concussions jumped from 3,483 in 1990 to 12,333 in 2011, the researchers found. The age group mostly affected by this increase were those four years and younger.
Below is an outline of causes of these injuries and some safety tips to reduce risk of shopping cart accidents.
Common Causes and Types of Injuries
The most common cause of injuries is falls. This is followed by children falling over the cart or running into it. Other causes include fingers, hands, arms and legs becoming entrapped in the cart, and the cart tipping over.
The most common part of the body injured is the head, with soft tissue injuries accounting for the majority. But children can also be hurt when their fingers are pinched in the wheels or other parts of the body are crushed.
Some have suggested lowering the cart seat so it’s closer to the ground, thus reducing risk of injury if the child falls out and changing the center of gravity to reduce risk of tipping over.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Child from a Shopping Cart Accident
Nationwide Children’s Hospital provides some shopping cart safety tips to reduce risk of injury:
- always use the safety belt, making sure the child is snug and secure;
- ensure the child’s legs are placed through the cart’s leg openings;
- never leave child unattended;
- keep children away from the wheels;
- use a cart where the child’s seat is situated closer to the ground;
- make sure the child remains seated at all times;
- do not place infant carriers on top of the cart;
- don’t allow children to hang onto or climb on the shopping cart (inside or outside of it); and
- avoid carts that are unstable, have missing or broken restraint systems, or have wobbly wheels.
Determining Liability for a Shopping Cart-related Injury
In many circumstances, parents bear the responsibility for injuries that children sustain in a shopping cart accident. But it is possible to hold the store liable if it was negligent in some manner. An example might be allowing a defective cart to remain in the store. If a customer was to use it and it resulted in serious physical harm, parents may explore filing a premises liability claim against the store.
Parents of injured children should take steps to collect evidence of the dangerous condition via photographs and other means. Talk to an attorney if your child was injured in a shopping cart-related accident or other incident on a commercial or other property in Arvada. Call D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 or contact us online.