Children should never stand up in the shopping carts. Whether or not the parent or accompanying adult seems to be paying attention, if we witness this happening we are required to politely address the behavior. For my part there is a combination of the need to not get the company sued, as well as a genuine desire to not see anyone get hurt, children least of all.
Parents are usually very appreciative of the fact that Generimart’s employees are attentive and care about the safety of their children enough to say something. However you do get the occasional defensive reply along the lines of, “Excuse me, I was watching him while my back was turned and I was texting.”
Fortunately, the parent in this story was not one of those.
A father was unloading groceries into the back of an SUV. The door was wide open and the cart was right next to the opening. The father left the cart to do something in the front. Two of the little boys, who were sitting in the front of the cart, climbed into the back of the SUV presumably vaulted over the backseat. Of course the smallest child, who was sitting in the child seat and couldn’t have been older than three, had to follow suit.
I left my cart pusher alone and bolted to the cart for two reasons.
1: Anyone who has ever placed a child in one of these seats knows there are some mechanics involved, especially if you have to tell your child to move his legs. Getting the child in and out with a parent’s help is hard enough. But a child trying to climb out of that seat on his own carries the risk that he’ll trip and fall in any number of ways that is not conducive to a child’s healthy upbringing, unless the parent’s recovered him from the burning wreckage of a space craft in the middle of a cornfield.
2: A shopping cart is not a stable platform. See the above example for the possible outcome of trying to climb out of one and causing it to move suddenly.
Fortunately, the kid “safely” got into the SUV just as the father came back around. The dad looked from the cart to the little boy and was clearly as surprised as I was.
“How did you do that?” He asked, not in a reprimanding tone certainly. As I’m writing this, he’s probably bragging to family and coworkers about how agile his kids are and who am I to judge?
“That was actually pretty cool,” I said, when I got there. “But I wouldn’t encourage it.”
Then I noticed the bandage on the little boy’s upper lip and I jokingly said, “Hmm. I wonder how that happened.”
It was all in good fun. Of course the dad could have complained about my comments, to which I could have pointed out how foolish it was to not secure the kids before leaving the shopping cart in the first place. But as I said, this was not one of the “My child is protected by hindsight” parents and we all just moved on with our day.