Mom Reinvents Grocery Cart to Help Those with Special Needs Participate in Shopping

A specially designed shopping cart for people with special needs is becoming widely available in supermarkets across the country. They are called Caroline's Carts, named after the daughter of cart inventor and mother Drew Ann Long. For years, Long struggled to include Caroline—who was born with Rett Syndrome—on daily errands while simultaneously ensuring her daughter's comfort. The condition severely inhibits Caroline's ability to walk and talk. She is now 15 and can no longer fit inside the child seats built for regular shopping carts. Long decided it was up to her to invent a solution to help her daughter.

After many months of “trial and error, walking in the dark, failing many times,” Long found the winning design—a shopping cart with a large plastic seat built into the base so children who otherwise would need a wheelchair or scooter can sit comfortably. With the help of Technibilt, the seat accommodates up to 250 pounds, and because there are no leg holes, Caroline's Carts can accommodate all. In fact, many adults suffering from Alzheimer's and other debilitating conditions have shown their gratitude for Long's invention. For example, Caroline's Carts shared on Facebook the story of a woman whose 91-year-old mother likes to go to the grocery store with her but can no longer walk all the aisles. “The options left to me are to leave her in the car with it running or she has to stay at home. Neither were good options.” Thankfully, the supermarket had a supply of Caroline's Carts so everyone could participate in the family's weekly shop.

Inclusion is top on Long's goals for Caroline's Carts. What started out as a way to help her own daughter is now making a better shopping experience for millions across the country. The carts have recently been distributed in stores such as Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Giant, Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, Target, and Walmart. But Long doesn't want to stop there. “My goal is for every retailer that has a shopping cart on their campus to have a Caroline’s Cart. If you’re going to provide for the able bodied, I believe you should also provide for the disabled,” she told TODAY Parents. “So many families were left out of the shopping experience. It has been an amazing journey and we’re just getting started. We will even grow more.”

Caroline's Carts accommodates kids…

…and adults.

Does your local supermarket have Caroline's Carts?

Caroline's Carts: Website | Facebook | Twitter
via [Little Things]

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