Every parent has a motto (or a few) they follow. One of those is probably “safety first.” Your baby’s safety is your top priority, whether at home or on the go.
Follow our simple tips so you can have safe and stress-free shopping trips with your baby.
1. Take reasonable health precautions.
During a time when many of us are more aware and concerned about germs, one way to keep your baby safe while shopping is to take necessary health precautions so they don’t get sick.
The first thing you should do when you arrive at the store is to wipe down the entire shopping cart with disinfecting wipes. Many stores right now are wiping down carts for you, but feel free to bring your own wipes and give it another good wipe down. Also, use a cart cover. Shopping carts aren’t just dirty, their seats are uncomfortable and unsafe. A cart cover acts as a 360-degree germ barrier while also keeping your baby safe and comfortable. If you are only getting a couple of small items, consider wearing your baby and using a basket instead of a cart.
Another safety tip, that’s especially true during the coronavirus pandemic, is to shop during off-peak hours. Experts recommend shopping when stores are less crowded to limit your potential exposure to sick people and germs. Current data shows that early morning is the least busy time to go grocery shopping.
2. Know where to put your baby.
You shouldn’t place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart. It won’t be secure, and it can make the cart top-heavy, causing it to tip over. One U.S. study, conducted over 21 years, found that 66 children a day were sent to emergency departments for shopping-cart related injuries, with falls and cart tip-overs being two of the top injuries.
So where do you put your baby? Some parents use a baby carrier or stroller. Some parents place an infant car seat in the basket of the cart, but the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend doing that. Plus, it takes up a lot of room so there’s not much space for groceries. Several stores have Safe-Docks, a universal infant car seat docking station, on their shopping carts that allow caregivers to safely strap their baby in their car seat to the cart. Another useful invention is the shopping cart hammock, which as its name suggests is a little hammock that securely attaches to the cart and suspends your baby across the cart so they’re safe, comfortable, and out of the way for groceries. It’s made to hold a baby or an infant car seat, with safety straps to securely hold both.
When your baby is able to sit up without support, they can ride in the seat of a shopping cart. Always make sure the cart has a working safety belt, and snugly strap your child in before you start shopping.
3. Follow shopping cart safety rules.
Along with not placing an infant car seat on top of a shopping cart or putting your baby in the basket, here are some other shopping cart safety rules to follow:
- Use a cart’s safety belt.
- Don’t leave your baby unattended in a cart while shopping. Babies are magicians – they can get out of and into anything in a matter of seconds.
- Don’t let your baby stand up in a cart.
- Don’t let older kids climb on or ride on the outside of a cart.
And while not necessarily a rule, another good thing to remember is to give your child plenty of attention. All the sights and sounds of a store can cause sensory overload. Be sure to regularly stop and talk to your baby, make eye contact, give them a hug, etc., to give them comfort and emotional security while shopping.
What other tips do you have to safely shop with a baby?