Grocery Cart for Special Needs Children Heads to Market

Caroline's Cart™ set to change the way parents with disabled children shop

Jul 18, 2011, 05:00 ET from Caroline's Cart

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Parents and caregivers of special needs children who want or need to include their child in the shopping experience will soon have access to a grocery cart specifically designed for the unique challenges they face when shopping. Caroline's Cart™  was invented by Drew Ann Long, a stay-at-home Mom from Alabaster, Alabama, when she could no longer fit her special needs daughter Caroline into the traditional grocery cart provided by stores where she shopped. The first shopping cart ever designed specifically for special needs children, Caroline's Cart™ will be available for purchase by grocers, home improvement and general merchandise retailers in the U.S. by 4th Q 2011.

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Drew Ann and David Long's journey began in 2000 when daughter Caroline was born with multiple disabilities. Drew Ann discovered that as Caroline got older, it became harder to place her into a traditional grocery cart and nearly impossible to maneuver a cart and her wheelchair. Read their story: and see the video of Caroline in her Cart here:

"I was frustrated," said Drew Ann. "Parents have access to amusement carts designed to look like miniature cars, and people with limited mobility can drive through the store in a motorized cart with wheels. However, as a mom who has to shop several times a week to provide food for my family, I had no way to shop with my disabled child---it was ludicrous."

Drew Ann's frustration turned to innovation in 2008, when she sketched out the cart she imagined and began searching the internet to learn about grocery cart manufacturers. She identified Indesign, an engineering design firm in Indianapolis, IN, to develop the cart prototype and retained legal counsel to file a patent.  

The Longs were encouraged when Easter Seals in Chicago saw the cart. "Caroline's Cart will be welcomed by thousands of families who have children with disabilities," said Sara Brewster Vice President, Marketing Communications for national Easter Seals, Inc. "This shopping cart will make it possible for kids with disabilities to be part of a family shopping outing.  More than this, when families use Caroline's Cart in neighborhood stores, it sends an important message to everyone who sees them that kids with disabilities are kids first and need to be included."

"Our goal is to enable special needs children to more easily be included in their family's every-day life by making Caroline's Cart™ available at retailers across the country," said Drew Ann. "David and I made a commitment that this cart was going to happen---parents and caregivers of disabled children should have access to this.  It is the right thing to do."

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