You can let your babysit in the shopping cart as soon as they can sit up on their own, which could be as early as 6 months. Just be careful and make sure that your baby can already support their own weight for a long period of time. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend putting your child in a grocery cart at all, advises a baby carrier or sling as a safer option.
Some grocery stores provide carts with built-in infant seats. If you don’t see one when you arrive at the store, ask a clerk if there are any available.
Others recommend shopping cart hammocks or even putting the infant car seat in the cart, but how safe are these options?
AAP shares shopping cart safety rules to ensure that you are not putting your little ones in a dangerous position.
Safer options for your baby while you shop
1. Shop with another adult
Ask a friend or your sister to come with you to watch your child while you shop. This could be a great chance to catch up too while doing your errands.
They can also give you some useful tips on doing their shopping with children (if they do) when no one is available to watch them.
2. Stroller, wagon, or front pack
Instead of putting your baby in the shopping cart, you can use other baby carriers to make sure that your baby will be safe while you are doing your grocery run.
This will let you focus on shopping and not worry if your baby is safe while in the shopping cart.
3. Leave your baby at home
Only if an adult is available to look after your baby in your home while you do the shopping.
The only challenge in this setup is exclusively breastfeeding your baby, and they will not take a bottle or anyone feed them. Besides that, you should have at least an hour to do your shopping while your baby is in a safe position.
4. Shop online
These days, most of the things that you need can be ordered online. This is my personal preference too in doing my family’s grocery “run.”
It’s the most convenient way to shop and while yes, there are certain limits to what you can buy online you have to agree with me that most of the basic things that our family need is now available using the internet.
Other tips when shopping with your baby
If the safer options (above) are just not possible, here are more helpful tips while shopping with the little one that could make it easier for both you and your baby.
Using the stroller as a shopping cart
The strollers these days are usually built to be more versatile and have multiple purposes.
Sure, it could look like you are trying to sneak your shopping items away when you put them under the stroller (trust me, haha), but if that means making sure your baby is safe while doing this errand, then why not?
They are only this little for a short time, and you’ll miss these shopping trips when they are all grown up.
Choose a store that cares
Some stores give importance to children’s safety because they probably understand the reality of parenting and life in general.
Shops that use carts with safer designs that allow kids to ride closer to the ground (for example, in a small model car in front of the cart), all carts have a child restraint in each seating location, these small details that make all the difference when shopping with a child.
Never take your eyes off your baby
It does not matter if they are sitting on the shopping cart, in their stroller, in a toy car in front of your shopping cart, or even in a baby carrier. We all know how fast their hands are and how curious they could get when exposed to various items (a.k.a. grocery shelves).
One minute could shift from a peaceful time shopping to complete chaos that involves opened packs of candies and chips. Does that sound familiar? Welcome to the club!
Get the right baby carrier
There are many different types and styles of baby carriers available in the market, which will allow you to carry your baby and push your shopping cart comfortably at the same time.
This is especially ideal if your baby is less than a year old and could sleep while in their carrier.
If they stay awake while you are shopping, you might want to make sure that you keep your distance from the shelves to avoid paying for “surprise” items in your cart.
Keeping your baby safe from accidents and germs, bacteria, and viruses that we cannot see but are always around.
Going in public places with your baby is a risk on its own, but with the recent events around the world (COVID-19 pandemic), you can never be too careful.
Make it a habit of bringing all of the disinfectants and protective gears that you think would give you, especially your baby, needed protection.
You might as well bring your own shopping cart cover to make sure that your baby will not be picking any virus or bacteria from the cart.
What are the best shopping cart covers?
According to Amazon, here are the top 3 best sellers for baby’s shopping cart cover.
1. IcoPUCA – Shopping Cart Cover for Baby Cotton High Chair Cover, Machine Washable for Infant, Toddler, Boy or Girl Large
2. Suessie – Shopping Cart Cover and High Chair Cover, Blue Dots
3. Lumiere – Baby Shopping Cart Cover for Baby and Toddler – 2-in-1 Baby High Chair Cover | 360 Full Protection, Patented Roll-in Style Pouch, Universal Fit, Machine Washable.
Do car seats fit in the grocery cart?
Yes, they do but is it safe? No.
The baby car seat is not made for shopping carts, so it is not safe even if they do fit in there because it does not have a stronghold on the cart to make it steady and safe for your baby to sit on.
It’s completely understandable if you are left with no other choice but to do the grocery shopping with your baby, considering the busy life we are all living and the worries it would bring if you leave them to a stranger’s care. It’s just impossible to decide sometimes.
The most important thing to consider always is your baby’s safety, and all the rest is just secondary. Ask for help if you need it and do what needs to be done.
At the end of the day, we are just trying to do the best that we can, the best way we know-how.
I hope this article helped you in any way. Please feel free to let us know what you think or if you have questions, ask them in the comment section below. Stay safe, happy, and healthy!