August 6, 2006

Parents: Beware of Shopping Carts, Escalators

CHICAGO -- Shopping carts, escalators and lawn mowers injure 35,000 American children every year and should be redesigned, researchers said on Monday.

Last year in the United States, 24,000 children were hurt badly enough to go to the hospital after falling out of shopping carts or topping over while they rode, a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics said.

Three-quarters of the injuries were to the head or neck.

Some children got injured when they were trapped in carts, or fell off while riding on the outside or while standing up inside the basket, the report published in the academy's journal, Pediatrics, said.

The group urged doctors to support changes in cart designs. Meanwhile, parents ought to consider using strollers or wagons, shopping online from home or encouraging children to walk when they are old enough to do so.

Escalators and lawn mowers also cause thousands of injuries to U.S. children each year, reports in Pediatrics said.

Many of the 2,000 annual injuries on escalators occur when a shoe, clothing or a stroller becomes trapped in the space between the moving stairs and the side wall.

Reducing that gap would help, as would having caregivers remove children from strollers before taking an escalator, the report said.

Regulations making lawn mowers safer could deter the more than 9,000 injuries sustained each year. Boys suffer nearly four out of five mower injuries, including burns, fractures, and fingers and toes that are lacerated by spinning blades.