Is It Okay to Put Baby's Car Seat on the Shopping Cart?

I've seen parents pushing shopping carts with car seats on top of them. Is that really safe?
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Updated March 2, 2017
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Nope. It’s not safe. Because we see other parents with their babies’  car seats perched on shopping carts, we think it’s totally cool, but it’s actually more dangerous than you probably think.

Shopping carts can tip over easily — and they’re more likely to if there’s a car seat mounted on them, says  Debra Holtzman, author of the_The Safe Baby_. “The cart has a narrow wheel base in relation to its height, so the center of gravity is affected when you put a child in it,” she says. “When your child’s car seat is on top of it, the center of gravity is affected even more, increasing the chances of tipping.”

Adding groceries and other swag to your cart makes it even more unstable. "While carts are usually unbalanced to begin with, when they’re loaded up they’re even more unbalanced, says Tom Patire, safety expert and author of the Personal Protection Handbook. “If the car seat flips, your child will be trapped.” He adds that putting an unstable sitter in the cart _without _a car seat is just as unsafe. And yes, we know you’re being careful, pushing baby slowly in the cart, but can you really trust everyone else in the store not to bump into you?

Instead of taking the risk of mounting the car seat to the shopping cart, try these alternatives:

Do tag-team shopping.

Let your partner take care of baby while you do the shopping, or vice versa. Or bring along a friend who can hold baby (or push him in a stroller) while you do the cart pushing.

Shop online or remotely.

Try a grocery delivery service, such as Fresh Direct. Some stores even offer shopper services, where you can order your groceries online and then pick them up (already bagged!), for a small extra fee.

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Use a baby carrier.

Hold baby in a safe baby carrier or sling while you push the cart. He’s much more stable strapped to you than he is to a cart.

Take shorter, more frequent trips.

Got a stroller with a lot of storage underneath? Go shopping a few times a week instead of just once, getting just what you need for the next day or two. You’ll likely have enough room to tote it in the stroller basket and won’t even need a cart.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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