Grocery shopping with your baby or toddler is part of the weekly routine of any parent in the U.S. Putting their toddlers into the shopping cart’s basket is almost automatic. But have you ever considered who might have had their hands on the cart handle last? Or what sort of grimy stuff, germs or bacteria can be found on the shopping cart baskets?

Well, researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed shopping cart handles in four states looking for bacterial contamination. Of the 85 carts examined, 72 percent turned out to have a marker for fecal bacteria.

The researchers took a closer look at the samples from 36 carts and discovered Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, on 50 percent of them — along with a host of other types of bacteria.

“That’s more than you find in a supermarket’s restroom,” said Charles Gerba, the lead researcher on the study and a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. “That’s because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts.”

The study’s results may explain earlier research that found that kids who rode in shopping carts were more likely than others to develop infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter, Gerba said.

The best way to keep kids safe, Gerba said, is to swipe the shopping cart handle with a disinfecting wipe before you pop your kid into the basket.

The Buggy Bench™ baby shopping cart seat is also an alternative to keep your baby or toddler safe and secure while grocery shopping. Buggy Bench™ can be easily installed to place your baby inside the shopping cart totally bypassing the shopping cart basket.

Keep in mind that your best defense against germs and bacteria is to keep your hands and your toddles’ hands clean, practicing good hand hygiene will greatly help to limit exposure to germs and bacteria.

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