Emerging research reveals that dozens of young children are injured daily in shopping cart accidents. These injuries are serious enough that hospital emergency room treatment is needed.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that some 66 children are hurt in shopping cart incidents daily in the United States. Falls and spills are the typical accidents and lead to about one injury every 22 minutes. This totals more than 24,000 injuries to children every year, according to NBC News.
The researchers looked at some 530,494 children who were harmed during the study period, according to The Washington Post. The research involved data on children under 15 years of age who received treatment in a hospital emergency department over shopping cart-related injuries reported from 1990 through 2011.
In 2004, voluntary cart safety standards went into effect; however, these standards have not corrected the issue, according to NBC News. If anything, injuries have increased. For example, the rate of concussions tied to pediatric shopping cart injures involving children under the age of 15 has increased by nearly 90 percent based on the data analysis conducted by Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. Most of the injuries—85 percent—took place in children from infancy to age four. Most of the injuries, some 70 percent, were the result of children falling out of shopping carts, which was followed by children running into a cart or carts tipping and harming children.
“This is a setup for a major injury,” said Smith. “The major group we are concerned about are children under 5,” he added, NBC News reported. The study is published in the January issue of the journal, Clinical Pediatrics.
The body region that was most commonly injured was the head—78.1 percent of the injuries occurred on this body part, according to The Washington Post. Regarding head injuries, soft tissue injuries were the number one diagnosis. The annual rate for concussion and the annual rate for closed head injuries—these involve concussion and internal head injury—rose from 3,483 in 1990 to 12,333 in 2011. These injuries typically impacted children who were four years of age and younger.
Smith pointed out that children’s heads are heavier in comparison to their bodies, their center of gravity is high, and their arms are not strong enough to help them break a fall, The Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, shopping cart stability standards do not exist in the United Sates, although other countries have adopted these standards, said Smith, “The findings from our study show that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate” and require improvement,” he noted, according to The Washington Post.
Smith recommends that children should only be put in carts that are lower to the ground, such as those that look like toy cars or fire engines. If these lower carts are not available, either constant vigilance must be practiced or shoppers should not use the carts to carry children, if possible, The Washington Post wrote.