Going to the grocery store or a big box establishment as a new mom toting along a small baby is such an overwhelming trip to take. And being too tired and frazzled doesn’t matter when food and diapers are needed. Oftentimes, parents will rest the infant car seat on the front section of the shopping cart, not realizing the safety risks this poses. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, falls from these carts are the leading cause of head injuries in young children, surpassing accidents with high chairs and changing tables. Carts can also tip over. Now nine local stores, with more promising to join this effort, are participating in a national campaign to keep babies safe.
The Safe-Dock, created by New Jersey based Safe-Strap Co., is attached to the front basket of a cart, bolted in place, ready to hold any kind of infant car seat carrier. “There is a 50 pound maximum weight limit for it,” explains Bob Rainville, manager at Big Y in Tolland, one of the stores using the docking system, along with retailers such as Costco in Milford, Shop Rite in Enfield and Whole Foods Market in Danbury. “It’s an easy transition from the car to the carriage and it just makes it easier for the customer to shop.” The carrier is held tight by a substantial harness, snapped in place. “It’s more sanitary, too, because the child is staying in their own unit,” says Rainville. Representatives from the Safe-Strap Company, which first designed a one-of-a-kind seat-belt for shopping carts in 1983, say they conduct rigorous testing on their products made to promote children’s safety.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that approximately 23,000 children are seen in emergency rooms for shopping cart injuries each year. In 2011, a 3-month-old infant in Georgia died after her car seat toppled off the cart, after it hit a speed bump in a parking lot. “That alarms me a lot,” says new mom Megan DeMonte of Enfield, shopping with her infant daughter, Gabriella. She recently discovered the Safe-Dock carts at her nearby Walmart in East Windsor: “That’s amazing. I’d rather do that than having to lug out a stroller every single time I go to a store.” Parents can head to http://www.shoppingcartsafety.com for a complete list of participating stores, and also write a note to a favorite spot, requesting that they, too, use Safe-Dock. Some parents mistakenly think the latching mechanism on the underside of the car seat will lock it to the cart but that is not always the case.
Rainville thinks the Safe-Dock system is a great addition to the store: “I can judge the success of it by the amount that they’re being used and the ones that we have are used pretty frequently. So, I’d say it’s been a homerun for us so far.” We parents know how to juggle. Anything that makes our daily routine a little easier — and keeps our kids secure — is a win-win. DeMonte, standing with a Safe-Dock cart, agrees: “It’s a lot easier for the mom to get around.”
To see the Safe-Dock in action, watch Monday’s Fox CT Morning News.
>>To contribute your own adventures in motherhood, or to read more from Fox CT reporter Sarah Cody and freelancer Teresa Pelham, go to http://www.ctnow.com/mommyminute.