Infant seats on Shopping Carts

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oxeye

New member
We’ve all seen it. You’re walking through the grocery store and every infant car seat you see is perched on top of the shopping cart. It seems so convenient and lots of people do it. But is it safe? The answer is a resounding NO!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says not to do it. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;118/2/e545 In fact, the AAP doesn’t think any child should ride in that part of a shopping cart and very specifically states that “parents and caregivers should never place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart.”

Why is this? Some of the seats clip right on and seem pretty secure. Unfortunately, even if they seem to fit securely they often are not secure. The little clip on the back isn't made for the seat to snap onto a shopping cart the way the seat snaps into its base in the car. Even if the seat did clip onto the shopping cart securely, putting a car seat up there changes the center of gravity of the shopping cart significantly. The cart becomes top-heavy and is then more likely to tip over, injuring a child sitting in the shopping cart or riding on top of it in their infant car seat.

Wait. Injured even if they are properly secured in their car seat? That seems counterintuitive. It’s true, though – an infant falling while strapped into their infant car seat is actually MORE likely to suffer from severe injuries than if they fell from the same height unrestrained. In one case study, an infant suffered from an epidural hematoma (ie a brain bleed) after he fell in his car seat from the top of a washing machine (Hulka F. An Infant in a Car Seat on a Washing Machine: Epidural Hematoma. Pediatrics. Oct 1994). This same study goes on to explain that, in general, children falling from elevated surfaces do not suffer from severe injuries. This is because we have an instinctual protective righting reflex. However, in the case of an infant strapped into a car seat, there is an inability to execute this righting reflex making severe injury actually more likely. Additionally, the car seat adds 50% to the impact energy of an average 1 year old and an even higher percentage for a lighter child.

Knowing all this, it makes sense why you should never put an infant car seat on top of a shopping cart. A better option is to take your baby out of their car seat and put them in a sling or other baby carrier. I found this made my babies happier anyway! If you really want to keep the baby in the infant car seat, I’ve seen many moms put the car seat in a travel system stroller and either pull a shopping cart while pushing the stroller or use the stroller basket to hold the items. Another option is to put the infant carrier in the main basket of the shopping cart and pile groceries around the carrier. This doesn’t affect the center of gravity quite as much and if the shopping cart does tip, the baby doesn’t have as far to travel before hitting the ground.
 
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mum2two

Active member
I have discussed this issue with the manager at our Meijer's....wish we could get stores to ban this practice! It takes all my restraint not to tell every parent I see with the seat perched on top to say "please don't do that!!!!!!!!!!"
 

jasminegrl

New member
my baby seat manual says that it is perfectly fine and safe as long as it latchs, personally even while babysitting i put the seat inside the cart cuz its easier. I have a baby trend seat btw, so maybe the seat manufactures need to be emailed about this, not the grocery stores
 

Jeanum

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
Staff member
Great article to get the word out and raise further awareness about the risks of placing an infant seat atop a shopping cart, and the available alternatives for shopping/grocery shopping with a baby along for the shopping trek. :) The triad of shopping cart manufacturers, stores, and infant seat manufacturers could all be much more proactive about warnings/warning labels against placing infant seats on top of shopping carts IMHO. :twocents:
 
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oxeye

New member
my baby seat manual says that it is perfectly fine and safe as long as it latchs, personally even while babysitting i put the seat inside the cart cuz its easier. I have a baby trend seat btw, so maybe the seat manufactures need to be emailed about this, not the grocery stores
That is interesting that Baby Trend says it is okay for their infant seat to go on top of the shopping cart. My first infant seat (nearly 6 years ago) was a Baby Trend. I only tried it on top of the shopping cart one time - since I assumed that's where you were supposed to put them since everyone did. It fit horribly and no way was my DD safe up there so I took it down and never put it there again.

We are taught in the CPST training to defer to the manufacturer in most cases. IMO, this is a situation where one should absolutely not listen to the manufacturer!
 

chloebeansmom

New member
I especially hate it when I see people with SS1s up there! They definitely do not fit securely! When my dd was little I would either put her seat in the main part of the cart (if I was just running in somewhere), or I would put her in a sling.
 
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