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A Target store front Photograph by Lucas Oleniuk Toronto Star — Getty Images

Target Is Rolling Out New Special Needs-Friendly Shopping Carts

Feb 11, 2016

Target stores across the U.S. are adding a new type of cart to their stores that will make shopping easier for those with kids or adults with special needs. The carts, which are called Caroline's Carts, are a new option in addition to the traditional shopping cart and will be in stores nationwide starting March 19.

The Caroline's Carts sport Target's traditional bright red baskets, but on the driver's side is a larger harness-equipped seat and foam covered handles that swing outward. The seat is designed so that parents or caretakers can transfer a wheelchair-bound child or adult into the front seat, so that he or she doesn't have to maneuver both a cart and wheelchair.

Target's new Caroline's Cart for special needs children and adults.Target's new Caroline's Cart for special needs children and adults.  Courtesy of Target. 

Caroline's Carts were created by Drew Ann Long, an Alabama resident who designed the cart for her daughter Caroline. Caroline has a neurological disorder called Rett syndrome, and she had outgrown the child's seat in traditional shopping carts. Long needed a better solution to make shopping easier with her 7-year-old daughter.

"If a retailer is going to provide a variety of carts, it's an accommodation they should provide," Long told the Chicago Tribune. "Families of children with disabilities should be able to have the same experience as a typical family."

Long markets the carts through a company called Parent Solution Group and has sold Caroline's Carts to several companies, including certain Kroger (kr) stores and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. Target (tgt) is the largest retailer to bring the cart to all its stores (except for its smallest stores without full-size carts) after testing them in some locations over the past year.

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