It’s that time of year again… holiday shopping season has arrived! The lines stretch on for days and the list of items still to be purchased seems endless, but the look on your loved ones’ faces when they open their special present makes it all worth it. As a parent, you may not always be able to go on a shopping spree alone. We have a few holiday shopping tips that can help keep your children safe when they come along for your annual holiday haul.

1. Timing is Everything

To shop with your baby, you must become a strategic shopper! Although it’s peak season, to keep your child safe in the store it’s best to go when it isn’t as crowded. Visiting during the week can significantly lower the crowds you may encounter. Another good approach is to visit the store when you know an adult will be available to accompany you. There’s nothing like a good tag-team to keep an eye on the little ones while you pick out that perfect present!

2. Securing the Cart

Carts are a major convenience when it comes to holiday shopping, but only if you use them safely. Each year, 24,000 children visit the emergency room for shopping cart related injuries. Never balance your baby carrier on top of a shopping cart, and if your cart is equipped with child safety straps, USE THEM! In addition, never let your child stand in the cart: in an instant, he or she can fall or cause the cart to tip over. One way to prevent these injuries is to find a shopping location that supplies Safe-Dock or Shop-Along, devices that attach to the shopping cart to ensure your child’s safety.

3. Occupying Wandering Hands and Attention

Even if your child is secured in a cart or stroller, he or she may still be able to grab store displays or sharp objects that can ultimately injure your little one and others in the surrounding area. It can be difficult to distract a child, but a favorite toy, small snack or book can help keep baby busy while you comb the store for what you need! For older children not in a cart, it can be beneficial to point out what is absolutely “hands off” as soon as you enter the store.

Although it may seem like your trip to the store just got a lot more complicated with your little one in tow, that doesn’t have to be the case! We hope these tips are helpful as you wrap up your holiday shopping.