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Shopping Cart Injuries, Entrapment, and Childhood Fatality

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Shopping carts may be associated with a variety of injuries, particularly in toddlers and young children. These usually relate to falls from carts or to tip-overs. Injuries that are sustained include hematomas/contusions, abrasions, lacerations, fractures, and fingertip amputations. Fatal episodes are uncommon and are usually due to blunt craniocerebral trauma from falls. A case involving a 19-month-old girl is reported who became entrapped when she inserted her head through the side frame of a cart that had been removed from a supermarket and left at her home address. Death was caused by neck compression. Although rare, the potential for lethal entrapment during unsupervised play means that the presence of stray shopping carts at private residences and in public places, including playgrounds and parks, is of concern. Strategies, such as coin deposits, should be encouraged to assist in the return of such carts to supermarkets.
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Keywords: asphyxia; childhood; forensic science; shopping cart; trolley

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Forensic Science SA, 21 Divett Place, Adelaide 5000, Australia.

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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