Faulty shopping cart can be hazardous to small children

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Nearly 24,000 children were injured by faulty shopping carts in 2005 alone.  A Columbus family is thankful their child is not one of those statistics after they say a Walmart shopping cart accidentally flipped their daughter into the basket.

When Mike Frank and his wife took their ten-month-old daughter Savannah to Walmart to pick up some baby food, he had no idea of the dangers that lurked in their shopping cart.

"She was dead asleep in the car so we just brought her in with her carrier, set her on the cart just inside the store. Within a couple seconds of that, the back plate on the cart just flipped and dumped her car seat into the bottom of the cart."

The latch on the back of the shopping cart didn't catch, causing the car seat to go flying. Mike recreated what happened to his sleeping daughter on his cell phone after he made sure she was alright.

"She was asleep at the time so she didn't really wake up until she was upside down and we were pulling her out. Luckily the hand bar over the car seat was up so it hit that instead of her," says Frank.

"If we would have gone to the store and she had been awake, she would have been buckled into the cart like you normally would and she would have hit the back of her head on the bottom of the cart so it would have been much worse."

Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling says she does not know of this happening before at the Phenix City store, but she says the issue has been addressed.

"We take the safety of our customers very seriously and to insure this doesn't happen again we are checking the shopping carts several times a day between customer use," says Whaling.

Frank says the store manager was concerned about the faulty cart that sent his daughter flying. "The store manager called me the next day to apologize and make sure she was okay. They said they have someone who maintains the carts and they must have missed that one."

Whaling explained, "If we are notified of a defective cart, the cart is pulled from the stack and put into an area away from customer traffic to be repaired or replaced."

But Frank says the shopping cart in question was spotted again before the family left the store, "I was a little angry that the cart hadn't been maintained. I took the cart to the manager and let him know what happened and when we left the store, instead of the cart being in a back room or marked as damaged, the cart was back in the front parking lot with the rest of the carts so someone else could grab it and have the same thing happen."

Fortunately, baby Savannah was not injured during the incident.  But her parents want to make sure everyone checks shopping carts before putting their child inside one.

Studies show that 75 percent of shopping cart incidents result in head or neck injuries in children. Although the numbers aren't high, some deaths have even been reported due to shopping cart tip overs or kids falling out of the carts.

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