Shopping Carts Injure Thousands of Kids AnnuallyJan 31, 2014
A new study reveals that scores of children are hurt every day due to shopping cart accidents. Injuries are significant enough to warrant emergency room treatment.
According to a study conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, about 66 children are injured because of shopping carts every day in the United States. Injuries involve falls and spills and average one injury every 22 minutes, amounting to more than 24,000 child injuries annually, according to NBC News.
The figures are based on data indicating that about 530,494 children were injured during the study period, The Washington Post reported. The study reviewed data involving children who were under the age of 15 and who were treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries related to shopping carts from 1990 through 2011.
Voluntary cart safety standards went into effect in 2004, but the voluntary standard have done little to correct the issue, wrote NBC News. In fact, the rate of concussions associated with shopping cart injuries in children under the age of 15 has risen by almost 90 percent, according to emerging data analysis from 1990 to 2011 conducted by Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. Children from infancy to age four comprised about 85 percent of the injuries and most of the harm—70 percent—resulted from falls out of shopping carts. This was followed by running into a cart or tipping carts.
“This is a setup for a major injury,” Smith said. “The major group we are concerned about are children under 5,” he pointed out, according to NBC News. The study appears in the January issue of the journal Clinical Pediatrics.
The head was the body region that was most commonly hurt, at 78.1 percent, according to The Washington Post; soft tissue injuries were the number one diagnosis for head injuries. Meanwhile, the yearly concussion rate and rate for closed head injuries (concussions and internal head injuries) was 3,483 in 1990. This increased to 12,333 in 2011, mostly in children age four and younger.
According to Smith, a child’s center of gravity is high, children have heads that are heavier when compared to their bodies, and children’s arms are not strong enough to break a fall, The Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. does not have shopping cart stability standards such as those which have been adopted in other countries, Smith said. “The findings from our study show that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate” and require improvement, he noted.
Smith recommends that children should be put in carts that are lower to the ground, such as those that are like toy cars or fire engines. If these are not available, either constant vigilance is recommended or not using carts at all, if possible, The Washington Post wrote.