Long before covid-19 entered into our world, it was pretty well known that shopping carts are filthy. We’re not talking about a little dirt on the wheels or some baby drool on the seat. We’re talking about some of the nastiest germs on the planet: salmonella, campylobacter, and escherichia coli (the dreaded e-coli). These germs can reside on the handle and in the basket where meat and chicken were previously placed during shopping.
In 2012, some really smart scientists conducted a study in which a total of eighty-five shopping carts in the parking lots of grocery stores in five major metropolitan areas in the United States were tested for germs and bacteria. Those scientists found that coliforms were detected on 72% of the handles and seats of these carts. E. coli was present on 51% of the carts on which the coliforms were identified. From these results, the scientists came to the conclusion that shoppers are regularly exposed to dangerous bacteria while using shopping carts. And, the levels of bacteria were far greater than found on the commonly touched areas in public restrooms and other public places. In other words, the shopping carts at your local grocery store are dirtier than public restrooms.
Clearly, there is a risk associated with placing your child in the seating area of a shopping cart where they will touch the shopping handle and other dirty areas. The smart scientists that conducted the research suggested that to prevent contamination, we should all be using the complimentary wipes to wipe down the handles on the shopping carts or shoppers should be provided with disposable plastic barriers that can be placed on the handles and then, removed and discarded after each shopper uses a particular shopping cart.
As an engineer, it is my opinion that both of these solutions are limited at best because in many cases, the disinfectant on the wipes do not have significant time to kill all of the bacteria. Further, most shoppers do not take the time to wipe down the seating area and it is nearly impossible to wipe all of the nooks and crannies that are present in a shopping cart. The single best way to avoid exposing your child to these nasty germs is to never place your child in the shopping cart.
Instead, use a Dash Wagon® Crossover to carry your child in his or her car seat. When you are using the Dash Wagon® Crossover, your child never touches the seating area of the shopping cart or the handle of the shopping cart. You can simply take one of our oversized parent clips and clip the handle of the Dash Wagon® Crossover to the shopping cart handle. As you push the shopping cart, the Dash Wagon® Crossover rolls safely behind you. Also, for the parents that like put their car seat and child in the body of the shopping cart, you are taking a huge chance because little hands can reach out and touch dirty parts of the shopping cart. A Dash Wagon® Crossover is a much safer option. If you want to avoid the shopping cart altogether, you can grab a carry basket (I’d wipe the handle) and push or pull the Dash Wagon® Crossover while you place items in the basket.
We have no real idea when the present pandemic will end. However, it is pretty safe to assume that we’ve all become much more aware of the hidden dangers presented by the bacteria that we encounter every day. The best way to keep our children healthy is to avoid putting them in the very places where we know for certain that the dangerous bacteria are present. With regular cleaning of your infant car seat cover, the Dash Wagon® Crossover can provide a safe zone where you child is least likely to be exposed to harmful germs and bacteria.
Gerba, Charles & Maxwell, S.. (2012). Bacterial contamination of shopping carts and approaches to control. Food Protection Trends. 32. 747-749.