Though obvious, it is important to remember, never leave children home alone. And do not depend on an older child younger than 9 or 10 to watch a younger child. Though dependable, a child under the age of 9 seldom has the wherewithal to cope with all situations.
A fairly recent concern for some parents is that of environmental dangers. Try to avoid traffic jams that cause pollution by choosing less busy times to go out in the car. If you're caught in heavy traffic, close the car windows and turn on air conditioning, if possible. If you live in the city, and especially if you child has asthma or other lung problems, avoid walking very far on crowded streets in hot, muggy weather.
- Set a small baby in his or her infant seat, propped up in the grocery cart seat. Or prop the infant in one of the small basket carriers supermarkets supply, with blankets to keep him or her steady. Place it in the cart. Some infant-only safety seats have special clips for attachments to shopping carts.
- Carry a safety strap for a child who can sit in the seat, so he or she can't stand up and fall out, if the cart doesn't have one. Falls from shopping carts are among the leading causes of severe head injuries to children treated in emergency rooms. Don't allow your child to ride "in" the cart basket, ride or climb on the front sides of one, or allow an older child to push the cart with another child in it.
- Take your baby on mall shopping trips in either a backpack, which has the advantage of leaving your hands free, or in a stroller. If your child insists on walking, use a harness.
- Hold your baby on an escalator. It's mandatory. Holding any child you can lift is safest.
- Hold an older child's hand and don't allow playing or sitting on an escalator. Face forward and hold the handrail. Be aware that loose items like shoelaces and mittens can get trapped in the floor edges and cause entrapment.(There are emergency shutoff buttons at the top and bottom of the escalator, usually on the right side when facing the stairs.)
- Don't let your child wander about a store, touching and handling merchandise. Besides annoying shopkeepers and possibly breaking something you'll have to pay for, the child may injure himself or herself on something sharp or otherwise harmful.
- Do not let your child go to the bathroom alone. Only let a child go alone when you are familiar with the place, know it is clean, and can see the door plainly.
- Have a plan where to meet or how to find each other if separated. Let a child know to ask a sales person to help them.
- Teach your children NEVER to leave a store with an unknown person NO MATTER WHAT that person tells them. And let them know it is never okay to leave a store to try and find your car in the parking lot.