Shopping Cart Safety Program Launched to Reduce Childhood Injuries

May 05, 1997
Release Number: 97117

To help parents and caregivers prevent unintentional childhood injuries associated with falls from shopping carts, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Johnson & Johnson and Safe-Strap Company Inc., today announced a national shopping cart safety program. The announcement was made during FMI's 1997 Supermarket Industry Convention and Educational Exposition in Chicago.

"Far too many children suffer injuries from shopping cart falls," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "The goal of our partnership is to prevent these injuries by ensuring that there is a safety strap available for every shopping cart, and to remind consumers of the importance of shopping cart safety. Every child in a shopping cart should be 'buckled up,' just as in a car seat."

According to CPSC, from 1985 to 1996 an annual average of 12,800 children ages five and under were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for falls from shopping carts. In fact, fall-related injuries significantly increased during that period, rising from 7,800 in 1985 to more than 16,000 in 1996. CPSC data also show that during 1995 and 1996, two-thirds of the fall victims were treated in hospital emergency rooms for head injuries, and more than half of the head injury victims suffered severe injuries such as concussions and fractures.

"Supermarket operators have always been concerned about the safety of all their customers, including their children," said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of FMI. "This national campaign emphasizes parental awareness and supervision. Our industry has pledged to make seat belts conveniently available for any shopper with young children who wants them and to promote their proper use."

This nationwide effort will provide families with the information and the safety gear necessary to reduce the number of falls from shopping carts. The program's components include educational materials and a shopping cart seat belt discount program.

The program's educational materials consist of a consumer brochure, a poster for stores, artwork with the Buckle Up, Protect Your Child slogan, a flier to remind store employees of seven ways to enhance shopping cart safety and a sample press release on the program. FMI will mail these materials to its 1,300 U.S. member supermarket companies.

The belt program, funded by Johnson & Johnson and implemented by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and Safe-Strap Company Inc., will provide discounted shopping cart safety belts to grocers in local communities. The National SAFE KIDS Campaign's network of more than 200 State and Local Coalitions will educate grocers in their communities about potential injuries to children from shopping cart falls and introduce them to the discount program.

"Small children need to be buckled up in cars and in carts," said Heather Paul, Ph.D., Executive Director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "Our State and Local Coalitions stand ready to provide grocers in their communities with the safety gear necessary to help keep children safe while visiting their stores."

"As Founding Sponsor of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Johnson & Johnson is proud to continue its commitment to the prevention of childhood injury by adding this new program to our existing National SAFE KIDS Campaign retailer program in stores now," said Jerry Gilbert, Vice President of Customer Relations at Johnson & Johnson. "This promotion will continue throughout our National SAFE KIDS Week efforts this month and beyond."

"The use of safety belts in shopping carts has been proven to prevent injury to children," said Paul Giampavolo, President of Safe-Strap Company Inc. "By providing one million SAFE KIDS Buckle Up straps at a discounted price, we hope to encourage more grocers to install belts on all their carts."

Parents should always look for safety straps in shopping carts, and buckle up their child. If safety straps are unavailable, consumers are urged to contact the individual store manager.