Isn’t it amazing how much your view of the entire world changes when you become a parent? You see everything through new eyes…at first, things just look a little blurrier due to sleep deprivation, and then you begin the process of viewing everything through the “safety lens.” For me, the entire world became one big safety hazard, but then I got over the initial tendency to be obsessive and overprotective, and now I’m just really, really careful (as I’m sure all you moms out there can understand.)
So, in the interest of making the world just a little safer for all the babies out there, I’d like to share what I feel is one of the most important baby safety rules, and one of the most frequently broken.
I’ve spent many years working in retail, and before I was a mom, I never thought twice about seeing baby carriers perched high atop the child seat in a shopping cart. Now, the very thought of it sends a chill down my spine.
Many people will argue that their carrier is made to attach to the front of a grocery cart. I don’t know what every car seat/travel system/carrier manufacturer states in their safety guidelines, but I will tell you without a doubt that shopping carts are not designed to accommodate those carriers.
Many carriers click to attach to a car seat or stroller in a travel system, so it may seem if your carrier fits, or even “clicks” or “latches” onto the bar on the shopping cart, it is safe and secure. This is absolutely not true, and quite misleading. Just the mere weight of the carrier and baby is enough to throw off the balance of the cart, making it likely to tip over if your baby throws their weight to one side, or if someone else hits your cart.
Years ago, I was at work and saw a mother with 2 children shopping. In a split second, her older child ran up to the side of the cart and jumped on, upsetting the balance of the cart and causing it to tip. My heart stopped as I saw the carrier teetering and the cart ready to go onto its side. The baby nearly fell out onto the cement floor.
It was a very lucky day. A few groceries were the only casualties that day, as the mother caught and steadied the cart before any damage was done. But there are stories in the news all the time, and some other mothers haven’t been so lucky. The worst part? It’s a pointless and totally avoidable accident.
I work on the corporate side of retail now, but I still shop often (probably too often!) I don’t say anything when I see it, but I’d venture to guess that at least 8 out of 10 babies I see in stores sit high atop a shopping cart. I’m not sure why. No one wants to put their baby at risk, so I would assume that most people just don’t know.
Our baby is sitting up in the front of the cart now (which poses its own new set of safety issues!) but when he was little, we were always very careful to sit his carrier safely down inside the cart. I urge all parents out there to consider doing the same. It keeps baby safe and secure, with the added bonus of keeping stranger’s hands further away and cutting down your grocery bill (you just can’t fit as much when your cart is full of baby!)
Wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas