DEAR ABBY: Yesterday at the grocery store, I observed a woman with two young children in the parking lot. While she loaded her groceries and her toddler from the cart into her van, she left the younger child (under a year old) sitting in the cart behind her vehicle.
The scene brought back an incident when my own child was just a year old. I parked the grocery cart at the rear of my small pickup truck and hesitated only a moment before deciding to load my child into the pickup before my purchases. I had taken only three steps when a car pulling out of the parking space directly behind me slammed into my grocery cart hard enough that the cart dented the tailgate of my truck. Customers all over the parking lot heard the impact. Even if my child had not died from the impact, he would have been seriously -- and possibly permanently -- injured.
During the time that this woman took to load her toddler and groceries, the cart and the baby were out of her line of sight. Someone could have pulled up and taken her child, could have hit the cart, or the cart could have rolled into the path of a car.
Abby, please remind your readers that the most important thing in a grocery cart is your child. Always put the child (or children) in the car first. -- DIANE IN SCAPPOOSE, ORE.
DEAR DIANE: When I read your letter, the hairs on my arms stood straight up! In case other parents need this reminder: If a child is a passenger in the grocery cart, the cart should be placed beside the parent's vehicle where it's protected from traffic. And, of course, the child (or children) should be placed first in the vehicle.