It may sound crazy, but a recent study conducted by the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (and others), found that more than 24,000 children visit the emergency room every year due to injuries related to shopping carts.


According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “Falls from shopping carts are among the leading causes of head injuries to young children and most often occur when children stand up in the child seat or the cart basket.”

Factors contributing to shopping cart injury include unsupervised children, missing restraints, failure to use the restraint system, children who unbuckle or wiggle out of the restraint system, and the use of another carrier, such as a car seat, in conjunction with the shopping cart.


A study conducted by the Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine felt strongly enough about the issue to recommend that allowing children to ride in shopping carts should be prohibited until a design that’s less prone to tip-over can be implemented.

The 1996 study looked at sixty-two children, ranging in age from 4 months to 10 years old, treated for shopping cart-related injuries during a 15-month period. The injuries were sustained either from falling from a cart or cart tip-over. Of the 62 patients, 49 of them (79%) had sustained a head injury.

The study concluded that, “The use of infant seats and restraining belts is an inadequate strategy for prevention of shopping cart-related injuries among children 1 year of age or younger, because cart tip-over is an important mechanism of injury in this age group.”


For those willing to take the risk, the CPSC offers the following suggestions to parents for keeping their children safe in a shopping cart:

Use seatbelts to restrain your child in the cart seat.
Retailers should ensure that all carts have seatbelts and that the seatbelts work as intended.
Stay with your child at all times.
Don’t allow your child to ride in the cart basket.
Don’t place a personal infant carrier or car seat in the cart seat or basket.
Don’t allow your child to ride or climb on the sides or front of the cart.
Don’t allow a child to push the cart with another child in it.
If your child has been injured, it is very important to see a doctor immediately to document their injuries in a medical record. Then, contact Meshbesher & Spence for a consultation with our personal injury attorneys who are available to visit you in the hospital or in your home, as well as in our offices, and will help you determine if you will be able to recover damages for your child’s injuries.