Going to the grocery store with a young infant is a challenge, and most parents anxiously await the time when their baby can sit in the shopping cart. Not only does that make it easier for the parents, but babies have fun in the store, looking at the people and sights. Parents have to make sure their baby can sit in a shopping cart safely.
Waiting until the right age is essential for several reasons. Your child must have the core strength to sit in the seat; the lap belts found on most shopping carts do little to keep your child upwards. Also, grocery carts tip over easily; it’s a common emergency room trip for parents each year. Always follow the safety recommendations.
I always look forward to placing my child in the shopping cart seat. Trips to the store are fun, watching their faces, and they seem to enjoy the time more. While I use a baby carrier more than the cart seat, it’s nice to have the available option.
Are you wondering when a baby can sit in a grocery cart? Keep reading!
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When Can My Baby Sit in a Shopping Cart?
You can put your baby in a shopping cart when he has strong head and neck control and sits up on his own for the shopping trip length. The age at which that happens varies for each child.
On average, a baby holds his head up by three to four months old. Around six months old, most babies can sit up independently for a few seconds to a minute. Between ages eight to nine months old, babies typically can sit for extended periods after their core muscles had time to work and develop.
Babies develop at their own pace, so some babies sit for long periods earlier or later. Also, sitting in a moving shopping cart is more challenging than sitting on the stationary ground. It takes more muscle strength to stay in a seated position.
So, on average, babies can sit in a shopping cart between six and nine months old, depending on their sitting skills. Using a shopping cart with a three-point harness makes it easier, so consider using one for your child.
How to Put a Baby in a Shopping Cart
I recommend using a shopping cart cover. These stop your baby from chewing on the handles that are full of germs. Plus, the padding helps your child stay up more comfortable.
Take a look at this adorable shopping cart cover by Suessie Store.
I recommend putting your baby in the shopping cart before you enter the store. It does make things easier. Here’s how to put your baby in a shopping cart.
- Park near a shopping cart holder and grab a cart before removing your baby from the car.
- Place the shopping cart cover over the seat of the cart. Secure it with the included straps.
- Take your baby out of their car seat and place your child into the seat, putting one leg through each hole.
- Snap the harness into place and tighten appropriately around your child.
That’s all you have to do!
Shopping Cart Safety Tips for Parents
Sitting in a shopping cart isn’t the safest thing for babies, no matter their age. Thousands of children have injuries from shopping cart incidents. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents never to place their child in a grocery cart at all. Instead, they recommend baby carriers as a safer alternative.
That being said, most parents, myself included, use the seats, at least occasionally. So, know these important shopping cart safety tips.
Read the Instructions on the Seat
First, take a look at the seat in the cart. Most have basic instructions to show you what you can and cannot do with the cart. For example, never put an infant car seat on top of the shopping cart. Some have weight limits, as well.
Never Leave Your Child Unattended
Many accidents happen when you leave your child unattended in a shopping cart. Babies fall out, or carts tip over. Keep one hand on the cart all the time.
Don’t Let Older Children Climb
It’s common for older kids to want to stand on the side or end of a shopping cart. However, this is a common reason for an accident. If an older sibling pulls over a cart with the infant in the seat, it’s a recipe for a severe disaster.
Always Use the Harness
You never know when your baby will decide to climb out of the cart; it happens earlier than you imagine. Using a harness keeps your child in place.
How Do You Go Grocery Shopping with an Infant?
Grocery shopping with an infant feels intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some helpful tips for shopping with your child.
- Prepare Ahead of Time
Make sure you have your grocery list ready before going to the store. I write my list in order based on the aisles of the store to make it easier. Grocery shopping with an infant isn’t time for random wandering.
- Make Sure Your Baby is Fed and Changed
To avoid melting down, make sure you head to the store when your baby has a fresh diaper and a full belly. If possible, finish feeding your baby in the store parking lot before heading into the store.
- Don’t Go When Your Baby is Tired
Avoid going at naptime. The best time is to go is after your baby’s first nap time. At that time, most babies are happy and content to take a shopping trip.
- Go When It’s Least Crowded
Waiting in line to check out is the time when every child starts to scream. Avoid going at a time when the store is the busiest. Weekend early mornings and weekday mornings are the best time to go to avoid lines and crowds.
- Put Baby in Your Cart or Use a Carrier
If your baby will be happy and not cry, put your baby in the car. I suggest keeping a baby carrier with you and using that if your baby is tired or might be tired throughout the shopping trip.
Give It a Try
Remember, if you try to have your baby sit in a shopping cart, and it doesn’t work, it’s okay. Come back to it in a few weeks or months. Your baby will eventually be comfortable shopping in a cart without falling over. Then, shopping becomes even more fun for the whole family.