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How to Put a Car Seat on a Shopping Cart: Never Balance a Car Seat on a Shopping Cart

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How to Put a Car Seat on a Shopping Cart: Never Balance a Car Seat on a Shopping Cart

Have you ever balanced a car seat on the child seat of a shopping cart? Or have you ever balanced a car seat across the basket of a shopping cart? If you have, NEVER do so again.

Cart Full of Love
Never Balance a Car Seat on a Shopping Cart

I must admit that I often cringe when I am out shopping with my kids. I am not trying to sound sanctimonious, but too many times I have seen car seats balanced precariously on shopping carts. If you take a look at most shopping carts, the child seat at the front of the cart contains an explicit warning against perching a car seat on the cart. Why? Because babies have died from head injuries after car seats have fallen off the cart. Luckier babies have sustained only minor injuries due to falls. But all injuries and death as a result of car seats falling from shopping carts are 100% preventable.

When my daughter was an infant, I often took her grocery shopping with me. I sometimes wore her in a baby carrier. If I did not wear her, I placed her car seat in the basket of the shopping cart. I never balanced her seat across the basket or on the child seat of the cart. I had read one too many horrible stories about car seats falling from shopping cars, injuring the babies. Now that I have two children, I follow the same rule. The car seat goes in the basket of the cart, never on top. (And I always keep my babies fully buckled in the car seat. Loose straps pose a strangulation hazard, and, should the cart tip, a baby could slip out of the loose straps.)

Why should you never balance a car seat on top of a shopping cart? First, shopping carts can tip very easily. I often struggle to keep my daughter from climbing all over the cart while out and about. When I can, I buckle her into the child seat to keep her from climbing. Even though she is only 32 pounds, she has already almost tipped more than one cart over when she attempted to climb on the front or side. If a small child can easily tip a shopping cart, I shudder to think about the damage that could happen with a car seat balanced on top.

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Some shopping carts do come with a special car seat adapter. For example, a handful of carts at my local Kroger are equipped with the adapter. If you chose to place a car seat in the adapter, securely buckle the car seat in. Never just place the car seat on top of the adapter. Injuries or death could still occur if the cart were to tip, causing the car seat to fall out.

Shopping Cart with Car Seat Adapter

Whether you use a car seat adapter, place the car seat in the basket of the cart, or buckle your child in the front child seat, always stay right next to the shopping cart. My daughter, for example, likes to try to climb in and on the shopping cart. If I were to walk even a few feet away from her, she could easily and quickly unbuckle herself from the child seat and fall from the cart, resulting in injury or even death. Should the cart tip over with me away from the cart, my daughter or my son or both could be seriously harmed. A cart could still tip with me near, but an accident is much less likely to occur with me right next to the shopping cart and my children.

Baby in Car Seat in Shopping Cart with Car Seat Adapter Baby in Car Seat in Shopping Cart Basket

Yes, placing a car seat in the basket of a shopping cart takes up a lot of room. But the safety of your child is much more important than a little extra retail space. If you need to make a big shopping trip, consider wearing your baby in a baby carrier. Otherwise, keep your child safer by never balancing a car seat atop the child seat of a shopping cart and never balancing a car seat on the basket of a shopping cart. Shop safely!

Falls from Shopping Carts Cause Serious Head Injuries to Children

Image Credits

Cart Full of Love: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mliu92/5344843543/
Shopping Cart with Car Seat Adapter © 2015 Heather Johnson
Baby in Car Seat in Shopping Cart with Car Seat Adapter © 2015 Heather Johnson
Baby in Car Seat in Shopping Cart Basket © 2015 Heather Johnson
Falls from Shopping Carts Cause Serious Head Injuries to Children: https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/122338/5075.pdf

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cat. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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