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How To Put Car Seat In Shopping Cart: Avoid These Mistakes 

By Jennifer Ward

Do you know that shopping carts can pose risks to babies and young kids, particularly those aged 5 and under? Injuries from cart tip-overs or falls are more common than you might think, often affecting the head and neck, which can be serious. While it might seem convenient to place your baby’s car seat on the shopping cart, it’s actually a significant safety hazard. Whether your little one is in full grab-and-go mode or peacefully dozing away, keeping them comfy in their car seat is your ticket to a smooth shopping experience. In this post, I’ve got the lowdown on the safest way to tote your baby’s car seat in the cart. Let’s dive in! 

How To Put Car Seat In Shopping Cart? 

Strapping a baby in the shopping cart can be a bit tricky. Here are some tips on how to do it right: 

Buckle Up for Safety 

First things first, fully buckle up your child in the car seat. Follow the same rules you use when securing them in the car. Check out this video for a quick reminder. 

Tighten Up that Harness 

Quick reminder: No slack in those harness straps! Clip that chest piece at the armpits. Loose straps mean a potentially dangerous slump. Keep your baby securely buckled up. 

Buckle Up

Keep Your Baby Secure 

When you’re cruising down the aisles, make sure you keep that baby facing you in the cart. Gotta have eyes on the little one at all times. And speaking of seeing them, try not to load up the cart in a way that blocks your view.  

Stabilize with the Handle 

Stop that rocking! Ever notice how the car seat kind of rocks in the cart? Totally not cool. Use the handle to keep it steady. It’s like stabilizing a wobbly table—got to keep things balanced! 

Basket Only, Please! 

Never place the car seat on the cart’s sides, on the built-in child seat, or on the top. These spots aren’t safe, according to AAP, and could lead to injury. Always put the car seat inside the shopping cart basket. 

How To Put Car Seat In Shopping Cart

Skip the Extras 

Say no to special attachments or slings claiming to make it safe to put the car seat on the cart. They’re unregulated and risky, increasing the chance of tipping over or positional asphyxiation. Stick to the basics for a safe shopping experience. 

Is It Safe To Put A Car Seat In A Shopping Cart? 

Yes! The American Academy of Pediatrics keeps a close eye on these things, and they’ve found that around 23,000 kiddos end up in the ER every year due to shopping cart-related mishaps. Scary, right? A lot of these cases involve head and neck injuries, which is no joke! So, if you’re thinking of popping that car seat anywhere other than the shopping cart basket, it’s a no-go. Placing it inside the cart basket is a safe bet. 

Alternatives To Putting A Car Seat in A Shopping Cart: Safe Options 

Cart Hammock 

A cart hammock attaches to any standard-sized shopping cart. Simply secure each end to the sides of the cart, creating a cozy cradle for your baby. With the hammock floating on top of the main basket, you can easily slide your groceries underneath while keeping your baby comfortably strapped in. These hammocks are designed for babies up to 50 lbs. 

Car Seat Carrier 

Consider using a car seat carrier like the Totes Baby Car Seat Carrier. Unroll and clamp it to the sides of the shopping cart, then place your car seat on top and secure it in place. This innovative carrier provides ample space underneath for your groceries and keeps your baby safe. 

Car Seat

Baby Wrap or Sling 

Opt for a baby wrap or sling to keep your baby snug while you shop. Rather than placing your baby in a car seat, wear them on your person using a comfortable wrap or sling. This allows you to move freely and keeps the baby close while you navigate the store aisles. 


Consider using this convenient option if your car seat easily attaches to a stroller. Simply strap your car seat into the stroller, eliminating the need for a shopping cart altogether. Some strollers even have additional storage space, making it a practical solution for both your baby and groceries. 

See Also: How To Grocery Shop With A Stroller


Check if your local grocery store offers shopping carts equipped with Safe-Dock, a universal car seat docking station. Click your car seat into the docking station and secure the strap to keep it in place. While not yet universal in every store, Safe-Docks are becoming more common in the United States. 

What Are The Potential Risks of Improperly Securing A Car Seat In A Shopping Cart? 

Improperly securing a car seat in a shopping cart can pose significant risks to your kid’s safety. Here are some of the potential hazards: 

  • Falls and Injuries: If the car seat is not securely fastened to the shopping cart, it can easily tip over, causing your kid to fall out and potentially suffer injuries such as bumps, bruises, or even more serious head traumas. 
  • Entanglement: Loose straps or harness buckles can become entangled with the shopping cart frame or other objects, putting your kid at risk of strangulation. 
  • Struck by Objects: If the car seat is not properly positioned or secured within the cart, your kid could be struck by falling objects, such as groceries or other merchandise, causing bumps, bruises, or even more severe injuries. 

What Items Should I Avoid Putting In The Cart When Shopping With A Car Seat? 

When shopping with a car seat, be mindful of the items you place in the cart to ensure your little one’s safety and prevent potential hazards. Here are some items you should avoid putting in the cart: 

  • Avoid placing heavy or bulky items in the cart, as they can affect the balance and stability of the car seat. 
  • Steer clear of items with sharp edges or corners that could potentially pose a safety risk to your kid or damage the car seat. 
  • Fragile items, especially those in glass containers, should be avoided to minimize the risk of breakage and potential harm. 
  • Avoid items that obstruct your view of the car seat, making monitoring your kid during the shopping trip difficult. 
  • Refrain from placing items that are potentially hazardous, such as cleaning supplies or chemicals, in close proximity to the car seat. 

Lastly, be mindful not to overload the cart with too many items. This can affect the cart’s stability and make it challenging to navigate safely. 

Final Words 

Babies and grocery shopping – it’s a combo that can swing between adorable chaos and serene nap time. Of course, your top priority is your baby’s safety. Yet, you want to dash in and out of the store pronto. By understanding the safest methods and exploring alternatives, you can transform your shopping experience into a secure and efficient outing. Remember, placing a car seat atop a shopping cart might seem convenient, but it’s a risky move. Instead, opt for safer methods, like securing the seat within the cart or utilizing specialized carts designed for car seats. Happy shopping! 


Are there shopping cart types that are safer for car seat use? 

While no shopping cart can completely eliminate the risk of accidents, certain types of carts offer enhanced safety features for car seat use. Some of the safer options are Safe Dock shopping carts and Double-basket carts. 

Can I put the car seat in the main basket area, or should it be on top of the cart? 

It is safest to place the car seat in the main basket area of the shopping cart. The main basket is designed to support the weight of the car seat and kid, and it provides a more stable surface to prevent the car seat from tipping over. Additionally, placing the car seat in the main basket keeps it closer to the ground and reduces the risk of falling if the cart were to tip. 

What is the weight limit for a shopping cart seat? 

The weight limit for a shopping cart seat typically ranges from 35 to 50 lbs. Overloading the seat can cause the cart to tip over and injure your kid. 
If you’re unsure about the weight limit for a particular shopping cart, you can usually find a label on the cart that indicates the maximum weight. You can also ask a store employee for assistance. 

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