Supermarkets to get tough on children riding in trolleys after hundreds are injured

16-month-old Jacob He and his brother Zachary He, 3, were both tightly strapped into their trolley when they visited ...
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

16-month-old Jacob He and his brother Zachary He, 3, were both tightly strapped into their trolley when they visited Petone Pak ’n Save on Sunday. But more than 400 children were seriously hurt after falling from trolleys last year.

Hundreds of supermarkets are considering getting tougher on children riding in shopping trolleys after 401 kids were injured by trolley falls in 2015 – the highest number in five years.

Figures from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) show the resulting claims cost taxpayers more than $37,223. Injuries included soft tissue damage, cuts, dental injuries and concussions.

Pak 'n Save Petone, in Lower Hutt, recently placed a large sign near its entrance asking all customers to restrain their children because of recent "horrific" injuries.

Petone Pak ’n Save placed this sign near its entrance after a toddler fell out of a trolley and was badly hurt.
Maarten Holl

Petone Pak ’n Save placed this sign near its entrance after a toddler fell out of a trolley and was badly hurt.

Owner Leo O'Sullivan said a toddler fell out of a trolley about a fortnight ago and was badly hurt.

"They weren't restrained and they banged their head. Plus their teeth went through their lip. They were covered in blood."

Foodstuffs New Zealand said it was considering displaying additional safety posters in trolley bay areas at its stable of 475 supermarkets nationwide, which included all Pak 'n Saves, New Worlds, and Four Squares.

"Some stores around the country, similar to Petone Pak 'n Save, may already have their own signage displayed regarding this matter," public relations manager Katherine Klouwens said.

The company's supermarkets already has various methods to advise parents about child safety, including messages on trolleys, special baby seats and safety messages broadcast across in-store radio systems, she said.

O'Sullivan said it was rare for children to fall from trolleys at his supermarket, but he hoped the sign would prevent them altogether.

"We get one or two bad ones a year. [The sign] was to shock people into remembering children are 80 centimetres to a metre off the ground, so they hit the concrete hard."

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Babies were typically restrained, but some parents failed to do the same for toddlers, he said.

"I think it's quite critical because of the potential for what could happen. While I'm unaware of any deaths here, there have been deaths in America."

WorkSafe was notified about the worst trolley injuries in his supermarket, he said.

Petone Pak 'n Save shopper Helen Jia said she liked the idea of supermarkets having more signage to remind parents of how dangerous an unrestrained child could be.

She was always very careful to make sure her young ones Zachary, 3, and 16-month-old Jacob were strapped in whenever they went grocery shopping.

"Danger only takes a second to happen," she said. "I always strap them in because I know that if I don't, they will immediately jump out."

SHOPPERS HAVE THEIR SAY

Should supermarkets be doing more to make sure parents keep their children safe while riding in trolleys?

Jeremy Norman, Computer programmer, Wellington. Does not think supermarkets need to get involved. "It's more the responsibility of the parents ... but I can understand it can be really hard having the kids and going shopping ... unless you're really good at multi-tasking, I can see how [an accident] could happen."

Lani Gray, self-employed, Stokes Valley. Likes the idea of requiring children to be strapped in. "They should definitely tighten up the rules if children are at risk. i don't understand how 400 children could get injured like that? It's neglect, really."

Stevie Po, receptionist, Porirua. Would welcome warning signs but says the responsibility is on parents. "If a child isn't going to sit there and be strapped in then they should not be in the trolley at all."

Jason Jacobs, self-employed, Stokes Valley. Supports any initiative that would require children to be restrained in trolleys. "I've seen people accidentally driving trolleys into children because their parents let them run amuck."

 - Stuff

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