Today was a very big day for LJ and I. I took her out on her first shopping trip. Of course, I enlisted the best shopper I know to come with us: my mom. We hit Buy Buy Baby, Whole Foods, and Schnucks (the local supermarket) in less than three hours. I was shocked. And what was even better, LJ slept most of the time, and when she wasn’t sleeping, she was staring at the little toys I recently hung from her carseat. The secret? Always keep her moving. The moment the cart stopped she would fuss, and as soon as we would get going again, she would quiet down.
Before we left, I hadn’t done any research on how to put a carseat in a shopping cart, and I just figured I would figure it out when I got there or ask the customer service people. I was shocked to walk into the supermarket and find that both the big cart and the little cart had signs that said not to put your carseat in the cart. I made my way quickly over to customer service and asked the lady how I was supposed to shop with my baby. She was probably wondering what this crazy woman was doing asking her how to go about completing daily life tasks, but there I was. The lady told me she had no clue how I was supposed to do it, but that she wouldn’t advise putting the carseat in the top of the cart. But if I put her in the bottom part of the cart, I would have no room for groceries. I said to her and mom (and really anyone that would listen), “Well, I mean, mothers do go shopping for groceries. The question is, how?”
So of course when I got home I did some online research to figure out the answer. This apparently is a fairly common dilemma because the question comes up on Yahoo Answer, Babycenter, and then is addressed on several carseat blogs. In fact, even the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement about shopping cart safety. Apparently 23,000 children are treated in the hospital each year due to shopping cart blunders (yikes!), and they say simply to never put the infant seat in the top of the cart. They give some advice, including leaving your child at home, shopping online, etc., most of which was quite frankly not all that helpful.
Really the most practical advice I have seen is simply to wear your baby in a sling or carrier when you go shopping. Lucky for me, LJ generally likes being in a carrier. I just really had no idea that you couldn’t put your infant car seat in the cart! Why all supermarkets don’t have shopping carts that allow for carseats to snap in is beyond me, but apparently that’s the norm. Thank goodness I had my mom (as I had no sling or carrier), because we just had two carts, and I did end up putting Lilah in one of them. I guess today wasn’t my finest I-followed-all-the-rules-of-parenting moment. (I’ve had a few of those.) It is really amazing how many ways there are to screw up as a parent. Did shopping carts really have to enter the mix?