Family says child was injured on child-sized shopping cart

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A San Diego family question the safety of child-sized shopping carts at Lazy Acres Natural Market.

They say their son’s finger was seriously injured after one of them fell while shopping.

“It was horrible,” Heidi Pringle said. “It was really scary.”

The sound of a child crying in pain sends chills down a parent’s spine. Pringle said the cry of terror came from his then six-year-old son Quinn.

“He had seen her finger and he kept asking me if he was going to fall,” she said, remembering the day in 2018 when she took her two children shopping at Lazy Natural Market. Acres in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. It was a grocery store they frequented.

Pringle said she let her son Quinn push a miniature shopping cart designed for children.

Within minutes of the start of the grocery trip, Pringle said he heard a loud bang. She looked over, and Quinn was on the ground screaming.

“I’m getting emotional. He was really strong, but you know (the pain) would go in waves that he would cry and scream and ask if his finger was going to fall, and I just did my best to keep him calm,” said Pringle.

She filed a lawsuit against Lazy Acres and the company that makes the children’s cart, The Peggs Company. The lawsuit says the companies “owed a duty to plaintiff Quinn Pringle, a predictable user of the children’s shopping cart, and other underage consumers to act with due diligence to prevent them from sustaining harm in the process. of the use of the basket “.

A court record from the Pringle family reads: “Following the Bristol Farms employee’s contempt for Quinn pushing himself on the handle of the Kiddie Cart, Quinn again rested his weight on the front handle, making a turn along the handle. of the dotted line of bees with the Kiddie Cart. This time the Kiddie Cart flipped over with Quinn’s right hand sliding down the right side and along the Kiddie Cart where the mast is attached to the Kiddie Cart. Quinn remembers her right middle finger being injured at the mast. Quinn suffered a severe slicing injury to his right middle finger, described by medical professionals as “slashing” and “slashing”.

Representatives for Lazy Acres were unable to comment on the lawsuit, but in court, the records calling for the case to be dismissed – the company describes it differently.

In a motion for summary judgment, lawyers for the store claim that video evidence shows Quinn spun the small cart on the spot while hopping on its handlebars and lifting his feet off the ground.

Lazy Acres’ legal response states, “In doing this, Plaintiff Quinn lost his balance and he and the cart fell to the ground. The impact trapped the plaintiff’s right middle finger between the handlebars and the ground, causing a pressure injury to the end of despite the plaintiffs’ claim that his finger was cut off on a flag pole on the right side of the cart, the footage clearly shows that Plaintiff Quinn’s hands were wrapped around the handlebars when he struck the ground and made no contact with the flag pole when he overturned the cart. “

Lazy Acres’ legal response says an expert found no sharp edges on the flagpole or anywhere else on the cart.

“They gave him a dangerous cart – they gave him a dangerous toy to use,” said Pringle family lawyer Alison Worden.

Worden says the store did not store children’s carts in a reasonably safe manner, inspect small carts, and warn customers of and guard against potential dangers.

The lawsuit claims that “the defendants provided six-year-old Quinn Pringle with a children’s shopping cart to use that had sharp metal brackets and edges without warnings or safety precautions and with the knowledge that this created an unreasonable risk of prejudice. . “

“We’re not just talking about a scratch or a cut; we’re talking about a child who is going to have permanent finger damage from a dangerous toy that Lazy Acres provided for his mother,” Worden said. .

Worden shared that Pringle asked the store to remove the carts from the property, but the carts were not gone until a month later when she called as the family’s attorney.

“I wanted them to take the carts off so that didn’t happen to anyone else,” Pringle said.

In a court file, lawyers for Lazy Acres said before the incident that there had been no reports or complaints about faults or other people injured by a shopping cart, including children’s carts. , in the store in question at any time.

ABC 10News has called The Peggs Company for comment. The person who answered the phone said he was told to say “no comment”.

In court documents, The Peggs Company also denied any wrongdoing. The Peggs Company documents state: “Here, the plaintiffs cannot establish any question of fact which could be judged concerning their failure to warn, as it is common knowledge that children’s carriages are not gymnasiums of the jungle and weren’t designed for a child to use them the way Quinn used it just before her accident. Second, the plaintiffs cannot establish that an alleged design flaw was a significant factor in Quinn’s injuries. Finally, no other safer design existed at the time of manufacture that would have avoided Quinn’s injuries. “

Worden said anti-tip devices were not included on children’s carts.

In court documents, she argues, “One predictable way for a child to interact with a Kiddie Cart is to rest their weight on the front handle to lift themselves up. When a child rests their weight on the front handle, for example The weight can suddenly tip a Kiddie Cart, thus exposing the child using the Kiddie Cart to a dangerous situation and a high risk of injury when the Kiddie Cart tips over On the ground. their weight on the handle of a children’s cart, adults, including Bristol Farms employees, using adult size shopping carts, did the same act of lifting themselves up on the cart handle. “

ABC 10News visited the Lazy Acres sites in Mission Hills and Encinitas. This station did not see any children’s carts in Mission Hills, but did see the Encinitas store carts, and at least one of them was in use.

Lazy Acres has confirmed that the Mission Hills location no longer has child carts and that the Encinitas store is currently using them.

Moving forward
ABC 10News reporter Adam Racusin asked Heidi Pringle if her son was scared.

“He was terrified, yes. Me too,” Pringle said.

She said the doctors were able to save Quinn’s finger, but not without another heartbreaking experience.

She said Quinn still had tingling fingers, numbness and pain.

It was also difficult to see her once her outgoing son underwent changes in his personality as he reacted and tried to overcome the trauma.

The lawsuit asks for money for medical bills, physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional distress.

A trial is scheduled for February 2022.

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Peggy P. Gilmore