I’m a huge advocate for car seat safety. Over the past few decades the technology in car seats has come so far, and when used correctly they save lives. I don’t think any parent purposely puts their child in danger, but I am consistently seeing mistakes made with car seats that are doing just that.
Before Clara was born I read the manual for her seat front to back multiple times because I knew how important safety was. That being said, I’ve still made mistakes because it’s confusing and there is so much information to take in.
While at Target today I counted six sets of parents making a very common mistake that can have extreme consequences.
The mistake: placing the infant car seat on top of the shopping cart.
Infant car seats are NOT designed to be placed on top of the shopping cart!
We’ve all seen it be done, and because it’s such a frequent mistake everyone seems to assume that it’s safe.
Here are three reasons why it’s dangerous to place the car seat on the shopping cart.
1. Placing the carrier on top of the cart makes it top heavy. It changes the center of gravity and one bump from a fellow shopper, or one gust from the wind can cause the cart to tip over. Here is an example of just that happening. Thankfully the baby was not in the seat at the time and was okay.
2. Parents often unbuckle their kid from the seat when it’s not in a moving vehicle. I also see this happening when parents use the seat with the stroller. Here is a video of a very lucky baby that was not buckled into the seat. ALWAYS secure your child in the seat when in use. You can see in the video that the seat appeared to be secured to the top of the cart, but it easily came off.
3. It can damage the latches on the car seat. Your infant car seat was designed to “click” into its corresponding base in a specific way. Clicking the seat onto a cart will likely damage the seat and cause it to no longer lock into the base in the car correctly. Even if it appears to be in normal working fashion, it could be damaged. The issue is that you may not know it is damaged until it no longer works when an accident occurs.
So what do you do if you need to take your baby with you while you’re grocery shopping?
**My recommendation is to babywear! This keeps you hands free and your cart open for the groceries. I do this for all big shopping trips.
**If you need to keep your baby in their seat (perhaps if they are sleeping and you don’t want to wake them) then simply place the car seat in the main bucket of the shopping cart. You may have to play a game of Tetris as you try to fit all your groceries around your baby, but this is worth it to keep your child safe.
**If your baby is capable of sitting up unassisted, use the seat portion on the cart. I recommend using a shopping cart cover to keep your baby free of germs, and NEVER leave little one unattended.
Feel free to share this to make sure the message gets out!