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Parents warned about kids’ influence on purchases

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 18-03-2009

It is a situation many fathers may be familiar with: you take your child on a trip to the grocery store and walk out with far more than you intended to buy.

According to new research from Austria, this scenario is very common. Scientists secretly monitored 178 parents shopping with their children and noted that kids wielded a significant amount of power over what was purchased.

Additionally, a number of moms and dads who were polled afterwards tended to underestimate the number of items their child had convinced them to select.

"Most parents seem to be completely unaware of how much their little ones make them buy," said lead researcher Claus Ebster.

According to the study, kids seem to be particularly influenced by products that are located at their eye level – a location where retailers may cannily place items such as candy and toys.

The researchers suggested that using good parenting skills to counteract a child’s influence may involve seating them in a stroller or in a shopping cart, facing towards mom or dad.

"Children seated in a stroller are less likely to bug their parents with purchase request," Ebster said.