Child Safety: Strollers and Shopping Carts

Overview

Strollers

Taking your child out of the house allows your child to have new experiences and interactions. You may start using a stroller as soon as your baby is born and can keep using one well into early childhood. Take some general precautions to avoid injuring your child.

  • Never leave your child unattended in a stroller.
  • Securely fasten any toys or bumpers to the stroller so they don't fall on your child.

    Remove these items as soon as your child can sit or get up on hands and knees.

  • Make sure releases and hinges are not within your child's reach, especially if the stroller is collapsible.

    Always lock the release mechanism before you put your child in the stroller. Keep your child at a safe distance when you are collapsing the stroller.

  • Strap your child in securely so they can't lean out.
  • Use a well-maintained stroller with brakes that are easy to use.

    The stroller should also have a wide base so it won't easily tip over.

  • Prevent the stroller from tipping over.

    Don't hang items, such as shopping bags, from the stroller handles. Carrying baskets should be placed low, near the rear wheels.

  • Make sure that twin strollers have a single, long footrest that extends across both seats.

    Separate footrests can trap feet.

  • Follow weight guidelines for strollers.

    Some strollers have a space for older children to sit or stand behind a baby. A heavier child could tip the stroller over.

Shopping carts

Most injuries from shopping carts involve children younger than 5 years. Broken bones, internal injuries, and concussions are the most common injuries.

Instead of carts, you might use supervised child play areas in stores, take another adult with you to watch your child while you shop, or use a stroller or wagon instead of a shopping cart.

Shopping carts are not safe. But, if you need to shop with your child, protect your child from injury as much as you can.

  • Never leave your child unattended, even for a moment.

    Even the carriers designed to sit on top of the cart or built into it don't prevent a child from falling out.

  • Use the proper straps and restraints at all times.
  • Never let your child stand in the cart.
  • Never let your child ride in the large basket or on the outside of the cart.
  • Only adults should push the shopping cart.

Credits

Current as of: September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics