In almost unbelievable numbers, children under the age of 15 are injured in shopping cart accidents at the rate of over 24,000 a year, which works out to 66 per day. Many of these injuries are closed head injuries which are treated in emergency rooms throughout the nation.
In a recent study by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, falls from the cart accounted for most of the injuries at a rate of about 70% Others included running into or falling over a cart, the cart falling over, and getting limbs stuck in them. While bruises and bumps on the head are the most common, nearly half were concussions with children under four being the most common victims.
Apparently the safety standards for shopping carts aren't enough. “The findings from our study show that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate” and should be improved, said Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Suggested changes to reduce these injuries are increased use of restraint devices to keep the child secured in and lowering the child seating area to the bottom of the cart rather than the top. (That will certainly make it an easy task for a parent to deal with a misbehaving child.) More parental supervision, safety information and employee encouragement of parents to use safety practices and restraint systems have also been suggested.
It seems obvious to me what the solution is. Shopping carts are dangerous contraptions that injure children. They should be banned. Think about it... anyone - I mean anyone can go into a store and grab a shopping cart. There are no regulations covering that. It won't be long before a crazed shopping cart in the hands of a disgruntled Walmart shopper injures 20 or 30 people in a mass casualty incident in the store.
If guns are to blame for people being shot by crazy people certainly shopping carts are to blame for the injuries they cause to children (and not the non-attentive parent.) So the answer is government intervention - maybe new cart control legislation banning shopping carts nationwide. If that's not feasible - at least a background check (to include mental health history - particularly for frequent shoppers) and a mandatory shopping cart operational safety class before people are allowed to put their children in them.
Shopping cart incidents are on the rise. It's time the government stepped in to do something about it. After all - you never know when you could be attacked by a shopping cart.