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From this week Sainsbury’s stores throughout the country will be offering shopping trolleys specially designed to keep disabled children safe and secure on shopping trips.
Parents of disabled children are set to benefit from the newly designed shopping trolley which includes a special padded seat and harness to offer better comfort and security for children with a disability.
Nearly 600 trolleys have been made by the retailer Sainsbury’s, which has assured shoppers at least one trolley will now be available in every one of its supermarkets.
The idea for the trolley came after a number of parents expressed the difficulties they were facing with a typical shopping trolley. Maria Box, mother to five year old Ryan who has autism, said the new design will ‘revolutionise’ future shopping trips.
Ms Box said: “I am thrilled that Sainsbury’s has invested in these trolleys. All parents with disabled children know how stressful it can be to take them shopping. It had got to the point where I couldn’t go shopping with Ryan because he had outgrown the seat. In this new trolley he is properly supported, safe and happy.
“The other benefit is that people now look at the trolley and understand that there could be a reason why Ryan is distressed, rather than the usual label of being a 'naughty child,' which we so often have to endure when out in public.”
Mum Stacie Lewis, whose daughter May, aged 5 suffered brain damage at birth, also believe it will make a huge difference to parents of disabled children. She said: “Before my daughter, May, could use an accessible trolley, our choices were severely limited. We could use her wheelchair in the store and carry a basket; pushing her and a shopping trolley was impossible.
“But, a shopping basket only fits enough food for an evening and even then, it was very difficult to push her wheelchair while carrying one. The only real option was leaving her at home and excluding her from a normal family activity.
“Now, she can go shopping with us again. She enjoys the sounds and stimulation of shopping. She is not excluded from normal life and we are not either. Because this is what people don't realise; as soon as an activity is made inaccessible to May, it is made inaccessible to our whole family.”
“Sainsbury’s always had trolleys for parents with disabled children but they weren’t appropriate for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism,” according to Hannah Bernard, Sainsbury’s director of customer experience.
Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for disabled people called it “excellent news that Sainsbury’s are taking steps to improve the shopping experience for disabled people. This new trolley should serve as a benchmark for others in the retail sector.”