Grocery shopping is one situation that can be difficult for parents of children with special needs. One of the more obvious problems involves the shopping cart. The seats in those carts are often not the best choice for children with certain types of special needs. A mom from Alabama found an excellent solution to the shopping cart problem. She designed one for families of special needs children to use!
Drew Ann Long, and her husband David Long, are parents of three children. They have a daughter named Caroline, who has special needs. As Caroline grew, her mother Drew Ann quickly discovered that the shopping carts that are typically found in grocery stores were not designed to properly accommodate children who have special needs. It wasn’t long before Caroline no longer fit in the shopping carts.
Like many other parents, she tried to find ways to be able to bring her daughter with on trips to the grocery store. She tried pushing her daughter in a wheelchair, and attempting to push the shopping cart at the same time. I think everyone can discern why this is not a feasible solution.
This frustrated mom found that she had three options. Bring an additional person along on shopping trips, so that someone could push the cart and the other person could push Caroline’s wheelchair. Hire a sitter to watch Caroline, and go grocery shopping without her. Or, only take Caroline on small shopping trips that involved just buying a few things that could be carried while pushing a wheelchair. This wasn’t good enough for Drew Ann Long.
Instead of giving up, she designed a shopping cart that would meet the needs of her daughter, and other children who had certain kinds of special needs. She and her husband David Long ended up founding their own company called Parent Solution Group LLC., which sells the specially designed shopping cart.
It is called Caroline’s Cart, and is named after the Long’s daughter. This cart has a large seat that faces the parent or caregiver who is pushing the shopping cart. The seat of the chair has a five degree tilt that helps children who have low muscle tone to have a more comfortable shopping experience. The seat faces the caregiver who can maintain eye contact, and easily monitor children who are prone to seizures, asthma attacks, or other serious health conditions.
There is a footrest located on a platform below the seat. The seat has a harness and other accommodations that are designed to prevent a child from falling out of the seat while shopping.
The basket of the shopping cart is large enough to give parents ample space to put the items they wish to purchase into. There are also hooks on the sides of the cart that shopping bags can be hung from.
Caroline’s Cart can make the grocery shopping experience easier on families who have a family member with special needs. The cart is helpful for children who have autism, adults who have dementia, and people who have physical mobility issues.
Image by Rob Stinnett on Flickr