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The Dirty Little Secrets Of Grocery Shopping Carts

Apr 18, 2008
Most grocery shopping carts and restaurant high chairs are filthy. All you have to do is imagine how many children have left their saliva and mucas on them. Or even worse in the case of shopping carts, how many leaking packages of chicken and beef were touched to get the "best" package. And you guessed it, the same hands touch the shopping cart handle which is the same handle your 6 month old will touch and probably start biting. My husband and I were sitting in a restaurant excited about our first child sitting up and being able to utilize the restaurant high chairs to sit at the table, when he did it. You know, he started biting all over the railing of the restaurant high chair. It was the same thing in the grocery shopping cart. It bothered me and I had to figure out a way to protect my child from all of the harmful germs.

During my research, I came across a report on contaminated shopping carts. In 1998, Doctor Kelly Reynolds, a microbiologist, at the University of Arizona, doing research to determine why certain bacteria find their way into peoples homes, visited six Tucson supermarkets. "I decided to pay special attention to contact points that were frequently touched by shoppers but rarely, if ever, cleaned," says Dr. Reynolds. "When we asked supermarkets how frequently shopping carts were cleaned, the answer often was, almost never."

At each of the Tucson supermarkets, Reynolds and her team chose carts at random, and a two-inch square area on each shopping cart handle was swabbed with a solution that would pick up any fluids that were on the handles. At the laboratory, Dr. Reynolds made a startling discovery: Twenty percent of the carts tested positive for bodily fluids --- blood, mucus, saliva or urine - that could transmit infectious germs.

Another story I came across was from Linda Yee, a reporter with KRON(Channel 4), a television station in San Francisco who went to the Department of Public Works and watched workers wearing bio-hazard suits remove trash and human waste from shopping carts collected on the streets.

KRON-4 randomly selected and tested several of these carts and found that half of them tested positive for fecal coliform, the bacteria derived from human excrement, as well as fecal strep and E.coli. Yee found that when these carts were returned to the supermarkets they were immediately put back in service without being cleaned!

How many times have we exposed our children to harmful germs and didn't even know it? There are different types of shopping cart and restaurant high chair covers designed to protect our children from these harmful germs and bacteria. I found that there are two general designs. The first I would consider the bare minimum coverage which really only covers the bar or handle around your little one. The nice thing about these is they are small and can easily fold up to about the size of a diaper. The second design I would consider the full coverage design. This style shopping cart and restaurant high chair cover is usually made with a thick batting material in between to cushion baby's bottom. The elastic sewn in allows you to stretch the material around all four sides of the shopping cart seat as well as mommy's handle. I have recently noticed a new double or twin version of these shopping cart covers on the Sam's and Costco double seat shopping carts.

Finally, there are many different manufacturers each with their own unique design and features. However, the end result is still the same which is to protect your little shopper from the germs and harmful bacteria found on dirty restaurant high chairs and shopping carts.
About the Author
Gina Wesneske is the owner of http://www.kozykidcreations.com/ creating original handmade designer napmats, shopping cart covers, diaper bags, nursing covers, baby slings and more.
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