Bungee cord + shopping cart = brilliant solution for shopping with two young kids

Shopping cart hack

Jennifer's super-resourceful shopping cart hack:

I recently gave birth to my second child and have found shopping with two kids a little challenging space-wise. While Target has those carts with the seats for kids over 2 years old, my two year-old doesn't like those. Yes, I could carry my baby in the front-pack on my chest, but it really limits my ability to grab things, navigate my coupons, and keep my older son occupied.

So I went all McGyver [YEAH! — Ed.] and employed a bungee cord. I put the baby in his carrier seat into the main basket compartment, my toddler in the kid's seat, and I get one of the baskets you carry around and strapped it to the cart under my son's feet (see pic). I can put the items I'm buying under the cart and in the extra basket. I haven't gotten too many strange looks from people. And the bonus: My son can drop items I hand to him between his feet into the basket (instead of onto the baby).

Related: Plastic bag "balloons" keep kids distracted while grocery shopping


  1. Amy Michelle T. says

    LOL! I love, love, LOVE this hack!

    If my husband sees it he might just want to use it everytime (kids or not) for extra groceries.

    I’m sure some people will come on to remind you that bungee cords aren’t totally safe and they wouldn’t recommend using them, but I think what you’ve done is OK. And if you weave them through a few spaces on the cart/basket it probably won’t fly away and hit someone or something even if it does snap.

  2. Chaya says

    I totally hear that dilemma. I live that dilemma. What a great solution. My solution? I do my shopping at stores with double carts (Krogers and Costco, around here). Although I have a memory that I try to block out that involves a baby not quite sitting up being held up by his big (3 yo) sister to keep him from keeling over in the cart while trying to pay at Costco, and lots of people giving me very dirty looks. I did not go shopping with both kids for a long long time after that.

  3. tara says

    Great idea. But what do you do about the toddler who can Macgyver her way out of any shopping cart and refuses to sit in the front basket???

  4. STL Mom says

    When I read the title, I was so hoping that this hack would involve bungee-cording the toddler to the front of the cart and letting him/her yell, “I’m king of the world” while you run up and down the aisles.
    But your hack is good, too.

  5. says

    Good hack. Though as a mom of twin toddlers in a carfree family, I solve this problem by doing most of my shopping–even grocery shopping–online. You’d be amazed at what you can schedule to be delivered through Amazon.com grocery. I also use Peapod.com and go through a local dairy to have my milk delivered (the old fasioned way in galss bottles!) once a week. As much as I love this hack, I love even more coming home to find my groceries just waiting for me on my doorstep, being able to menu plan and stay on a budget *and* that I only have to take my kids to the store once in a while to pick up the odd item every now and then.

  6. Sarah E says

    Wow – the excellent ideas parents come up with continue to baffle me! Although I love this hack, I want to second the idea of shopping online. I’m 7 months pregnant and earlier in the pregnancy I was on bedrest so I started doing more shopping online. I now get about 50% of the stuff we eat through Amazon grocery (I also buy diapers/toilettries from Amazon) and we do a once a week trip to Costco for milk, eggs, fruit, etc. It has been a few months since I’ve been in a regular grocery store and I don’t miss it one bit. Oh, and diapers delivered to your door from Amazon are cheaper than buying them from Costco!

  7. Annie Pazoo says

    Please, please please use the *SAFE* bungee cords — the kinds that don’t have the hook ends. Even tho’ the ones shown have rounded hooks, they’re still considered dangerous around children. There’s a type out there that has a closing clasp end. Much better (it may not feel any better when it comes loose and smacks Mom (or kid) in the shin, but it’s far less likely to cause injury. Ok, off my soapbox now. Thanks.

  8. Kat says

    To tara (who has the problem of a toddler who won’t stay in the shopping cart seat) I also have this problem, and I resolved it by ALWAYS taking him in the stroller. It limits the number of large/heavy things I can buy, but you can shove a lot in the underneath basket. I’m so totally going to use this hack to carry even more! Awesome idea!

  9. says

    Super idea! Then, you can use the bungee cord to hold the cart to your car (if you live in a hilly area like I do). So, the cart and the kids don’t roll away while you’re unloading. That’s why I keep bungees in the car.

  10. says

    My kids are 3 and 1 and I don’t think this one would work for us. I do one of 2 things: put them in separate carts, pulling one and pushing the other; or put them in the double stroller and pull a cart. 1 cart or the stroller holds coats and my purse/diaper bag (really a backpack) and the other our purchases. This way they are comfy and people really get out of my way, especially at Trader Joe’s where the aisles can be small. I hear “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” 40 million times, but it works a lot better than the time I was at New Seasons and had the younger one buckled in the cart and the older one sleeping on my shoulder with his butt resting on the cart handle. *That* was insane.

  11. says

    This is very clever. I leave my grocery bags home so often I would likely forget the cord. For awhile I would go with one in a sling then backpack as they got bigger, and one in the cart.

    As often as I possibly can I go alone. Even if it means leaving right after dinner. Papa can do the bedtime and I get the luxury of shopping alone.

  12. Zed says

    I love that picture so much. I love the look on your son’s face. It’s like he’s saying, “Seriously mom? Did you really have to take a picture of me right next to the barrettes and headbands?”

  13. Beth says

    KYouell – I don’t think being as obtrusive as possible to make people get out of your way is a very friendly way to do your shopping, especially when the aisles are narrow. Quite selfish, actually.

  14. says

    Brilliant! I HATE that Target shopping carts won’t hold the infant car seat; they changed the carts in the last couple of years. So I keep finding myself with the baby in the cart, the 3-year-old riding in the seat, and the 5-year-old “steering.” The only place to put stuff was on the baby. This is a great solution!

    And online shopping is a great idea, but honestly, since I stay at home, I would die if I didn’t manage to get to Target every once in a while, even with all 3 kids. Anything to get out of the house and see a face I’m not related to!