Objective: To describe the epidemiologic characteristics of shopping cart-related injuries among children in the United States.
Design: A retrospective analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission for 1990 to 1992.
Results: An estimated 75,200 shopping cart-related injuries occurred in children younger than 15 years treated in US emergency departments during 1990 to 1992 (95% confidence interval, 57,500 to 92,900). Children younger than 5 years were at highest risk, accounting for 63,200 (84%) of the injuries. A 20% increase was observed in the number of injuries among 0- to 4-year-old children from 1990 to 1992. Fifty-three percent of injured children were male. The head and neck region was the most common anatomic site of injury, accounting for 74% of injuries among children younger than 15 years. An estimated 2000 children (2.7%) younger than 15 years required hospital admission (1.2% in 1990 compared with 3.5% in 1992). Children aged 0 to 4 years accounted for 93% of these hospital admissions. Among 0- to 14-year-old children, fractures accounted for 45% of hospital admissions, followed by internal injury (22%) and concussion (17%).
Conclusions: Injuries related to shopping carts are an important cause of pediatric morbidity, especially among children younger than 5 years. These injuries can also result in death. Shopping carts should be redesigned to decrease the risk of injury to children, and transportation of children in shopping carts of current design should be prohibited.