Buckle up: Parents can easily prevent head injuries and broken teeth from shopping cart falls.

 

Falls from shopping carts are the leading cause of head injuries among young children, according to a pediatric dentist.

 

“We know the important role safety straps, belts and seat restraints play in protecting children in automobiles,” says Mary Hayes, D.D.S., a spokesperson for the Chicago Dental Society. “This same idea could save a child from head injury in the grocery store. Falls from shopping carts are the leading cause of head injuries among young children.”

 

In 1995, more than 22,000 children age 5 years and younger were taken to the emergency room after falling from the seat or basket of a shopping cart, according to the Chicago-based American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Half of the injuries suffered were classified as severe, including concussions, broken bones, and broken or chipped teeth.

 

“Parents can prevent injuries by buckling their children into the seats of carts while shopping,” notes Dr. Hayes. “If your store does not have straps, request them from the store manager. In some states, manufacturers are required to equip all new carts with safety straps.”