Study Objective. To describe the epidemiology of shopping cart-related injuries among children and to consider targeted prevention strategies based on these epidemiologic findings.
Design. A consecutive series of patients.
Setting. The emergency department of a large, academic children's hospital.
Participants. Sixty-two children treated for shopping cart-related injuries during a 15-month period.
Results. Children ranged in age from 4 months to 10 years (mean, 2.8 years). Thirty-three children (53%) were boys. Twelve patients (19%) arrived via ambulance. Forty-nine children (79%) had injuries to the head, including one child admitted to the hospital. Eleven children (18%) had fractures, including 5 (8%) with skull fractures. Nine patients (14%) had lacerations, and 30 patients (48%) had superficial injuries (ecchymoses or abrasions). The most common mechanism of injury was falling out of the carts (58% of children), followed by cart tip-overs (26% of children). Injuries caused by falls from the carts occurred across the entire age range, whereas injuries caused by cart tip-overs were most frequent among children 1 year of age or younger. The sitting position was associated with tip-over injuries, and standing in the cart basket was associated with falling from the cart.
Conclusions. Shopping cart-related injuries cause serious pediatric morbidity, especially among children younger than 5 years of age, and are potentially fatal. Based on identified age-specific mechanisms of injury, currently used prevention strategies are not sufficient. The use of infant seats and restraining belts is an inadequate strategy for prevention of shopping cart-related injuries among children 1 year of age or younger, because cart tip-over is an important mechanism of injury in this age group. Shopping carts should be redesigned to decrease the tip-over hazard. Transportation of children in shopping carts of current design should be prohibited.
- Received October 17, 1994.
- Accepted March 13, 1995.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics