5 Tips for Keeping Stores Safe for Children
Contributed by Aaron Stamm, Retail Specialist at Acuity Insurance.
For parents, it’s difficult enough shopping with young children without having to worry about what they could get into or uncertain conditions that could lead to harm. Here are some tips retailers can use to keep their stores inviting to families, kid friendly, and safe.
- Change Your Perspective.The key to creating a safe environment for children in your store is to view the environment from the perspective of a child. This means focusing on potential hazards that exist at and below 4 feet in your store. Floors should be dry, clear of obstructions, and level. Electrical outlets, including those built into the floor, should have appropriate outlet covers. Use reflective marking/taping for any level changes, such as at entrances, exits, and stairs.
- Secure Shelving. Shelving with sharp edges can be a cause of injury for children. Ensure shelving corners are cushioned. Use shelf edging guards and be sure there are no items protruding from shelves. Young kids are naturally curious and don’t distinguish between climbing playground equipment versus store shelves. Check shelving and display fixtures to be sure they are properly anchored to eliminate the chance of tipping. Place heavier items on bottom racks and don’t overload shelving and fixtures—most have a weight capacity that should not be exceeded.
- Review What’s in Reach. Take a careful look at all products that are displayed or stored on lower shelves and remove anything that could cause injury. On low levels, avoid stocking small items that could be a choking hazard as well as any sharp items. Many items can be considered a choking hazard, and the CPSC provides a tool (small parts tester) to help evaluate the risk. Also, it is important to secure any heavy items that could be grabbed and pulled off higher shelves onto a small child. Stores often have cleaning and maintenance supplies available throughout the building for employees to use. Be sure those supplies are secure and kept out of reach of children.
- Shopping Cart Safety. Each year, about 24,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to emergency rooms due to shopping cart injuries. Falling out of the cart is the most frequent cause. Verify all child restraints in carts are properly functioning, safety signage for customers is in place, and any damaged carts are removed from operation. Carts that are designed to seat children close to ground level are the safest choice. Ensure your employees are well trained in shopping cart operations and can educate customers as needed. Also, make sure the aisles and merchandising displays are easy to navigate while using a cart. Parents can get frustrated if they have to leave their children in the main aisle to go and get an item.
- Get Everyone Involved.Safety is no accident. It is important for retailers to create a culture of safety with all employees. Make safety training and discussion a regular part of employee meetings. Everyone should be responsible for helping to maintain a safe shopping environment and should never walk past a safety concern without addressing and resolving it.
Creating a safe store environment not only helps avoid accidents and injuries to children, but keeps their parents coming back as customers.
Contributed by Aaron Stamm, Retail Specialist at Acuity Insurance. Stamm is the Retail Specialist at Acuity Insurance, a property and casualty insurance company that protects over 100,000 businesses and offers innovative insurance products and excellent customer service. We understand you work hard to grow your company, so we provide the insurance you need so you can focus on operating your business.
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