Local News

Strap Your Kids in... at the Grocery Store

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RALEIGH — How many times have you taken your toddler to the store, only to go from cart to cart, looking for one for your baby to ride in? Hundreds of children are injured falling out of shopping carts every year.

Some of those accidents occur because children aren't strapped in correctly. But as WRAL found out Wednesday, sometimes you can't strap them in.

After a check of close to a dozen stores, many didn't fare very well. That frustrates people like Suzanne Magnus, who saw her child fall out of a shopping cart six months ago.

Magnus is much more careful now. She makes it a point to pick carts with straps that are working properly.

Courtlyn Magnus didn't get seriously hurt when she fell off a shopping cart. Most kids aren't that lucky.

"About 16,000 children got injured in 1996 from falling from shopping carts," says Liz Newlin, Coordinator of the Operation Safe Kids Program.

Operation Safe Kids urges parents to buckle up their children in shopping carts. But many don't heed that advice.

Being a safety conscious parent has its challenges. For example, just finding a set of safety straps that actually work is difficult enough. WRAL checked some area stores to see how their straps worked. Here's what we found after examining 10 carts at each location:
  • The Food Lion on Poole Road in Raleigh didn't have a single cart with a working safety strap.
  • One on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary had eight in good shape.
  • The Winn Dixie off Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh had just three carts with safety straps you could use.
  • Another Winn Dixie in Cary had eight that worked.
  • Both the Kroger and Hannaford stores we checked had six of 10 carts with straps in working order.
  • A K-Mart off New Bern Avenue in Raleigh had just three with good safety straps.
  • A WalMart on New Hope Church Road had eight carts with straps in good condition.
  • A Harris Teeter in North Raleigh had 10 carts with usable safety straps.
  • "Sometimes they are broken," Magnus explains. "Sometimes, they're a little sticky and nasty, and you don't want to buckle them around your children. It's not your first choice, but it's better than the alternative."

    A survey shows 80% of parents leave a child unattended at least once during a shopping trip.

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    Len Besthoff, Reporter
    John Cox, Photographer
    Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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