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You Need to Stop Putting Your Baby's Car Seat in Grocery Carts

Photograph by Twenty20

My three kids haven't been in infant car seats for quite some time. But when they were younger, they spent a lot of time in them. Every week, I'd take them to the grocery store: my youngest would be in the baby carrier, my oldest would be strapped into the front of the cart and my middle child would be in her car seat, perched onto the back sides of the cart—which was perfect, because I could slide groceries underneath her.

I did this because I thought it was what everyone did. I saw many other moms do it and since the car seat seemed to latch on to the the edges of the cart perfectly, I though they were made like that on purpose. It turns out I was wrong.

While no one got hurt in the dozens of times I placed an infant car seat on a cart or high chair, it turns out I'm one of the lucky ones.

According to a 2010 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), nearly 10,000 babies each year are hurt in an accident while they are in their car seat. They warn that "shopping-cart related injuries to children are common and can result in severe injury or even death." Many of the accidents are due to the carts tipping over with the baby still inside (or on top). Restaurant high chairs seem even less steady.

I still see a lot of moms put the car seat in grocery carts; while I'm not judging, I'm trying to spread the word.

Most of these accidents occur with children under 5 years of age, and result in head and neck injuries. Many of us aren't aware how easily shopping carts can tip over—I certainly wasn't. While we all know the dangers of kids riding on the outside of carts, according to the AAP, it's just as dangerous to have a carseat anywhere else in a cart.

It's also easier than you think for the car seat—baby included—to get knocked over if you set them on a sofa, in a chair or on the counter while you're doing chores around the house or tending to your other kids. Something else that I used to do all the time.

While we're on the subject, if your child is in their car seat, they must be buckled in properly at all times, even if they're just napping and you have the car seat on the floor. Not only can they fall out, they can also get their neck caught, or shimmy down and have their seat belt get caught over their nose or mouth, which can affect their breathing.

I still see a lot of moms put the car seat in grocery carts; while I'm not judging, I'm trying to spread the word. If anyone had told me about the dangers when my children were still in car seats, I would've stopped.

A better way to get the grocery shopping done would be to carry your child in a carrier, or make more frequent trips and put the groceries in the bottom of a stroller. While this is definitely a pain, our child's safety is much more important and something no parent would risk just to get a week's worth of shopping done.

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