Kids high chairs are a germ hotspot

27 April 2011

Studies reveal that we are feeding our children in high chairs harbouring almost twenty times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.

The  study carried out in the U.S took swabs from childrens high chairs from 30 different restaurants, once these swabs were cultured in the labs the results were of concern.  The average number of bacteria found on a single chair was 147 per centimetre, compare this to swabs from  toilet seats where the average figure was 8 per square centimetre and the health risks are all to clear.


Children do not have the immune system in place to easily fight off illnesses the way that adults do.  Many of the bacteria found,  E-coli. Staph aureus and enterococcus faecalis, could cause a serious illness for young children.  Children are also more likely to become infected with the germs that they come across as they tend to touch things and put their hands in their mouths so much.

High chairs are hot spots for germs as there are so many food spills when each child uses the chair.  Parents are urged to clean surfaces that their child may touch before putting their child in the seat.  Sanitising cleaning supplies are required and it is ideal to carry disinfecting wipes with you for these occassions.

Dr Nicholas Moon director of technical affairs at Microban, who carried out the study said: 'The test results varied considerably and while some of the high chairs were relatively clean, others had concentrations of bacteria as high as 1,200 bacteria per square centimetre, which is worrying.

Apparently it was not unusual to see high chairs being presented for use covered in smears and other food stains from earlier use.  Sometimes these stains may have been there for days - and that is just the visible evidence of a lack of attention to cleanliness.

The report highlighted that even high chairs that looked clean were still showing dangerous levels of bacteria, staff were wiping away food debris but not using the correct cleaning supplies to kill the bacteria left behind on a regular basis.

A sanitising cleaning product is an essential item for a restaurants cleaning supplies cupboard and should be properly used (not just a quick wipe over) before and after each chair is used.

This basic lack of attention to detail and failure to use the appropriate cleaning supplies is resulting in cross contamination and more serious illnesses being spread around unecessarily.

Staff should receive training to highlight infection control and the use of cleaning supplies and bactericidal cleaning products.  If individuals are made aware of the risks to childrens health and their responsibility and due diligence in this area then the levels of cleanliness can only improve.  However, like any training, it must be ongoing and documentated.

Mums that we spoke to were not surprised by the research, many take their own seats with them that attach to the table rather than use the grimy high chairs that they have come across in the past.  Some complained about dried on food on the straps that had been there for who knows how long.

Some said that they always took their own cleaning products out with them in the form of disinfecting wipes and used them on high chairs and table tops before letting their child anywhere near the surfaces.  Many complained that establishments, even those well known names, did not seem to use cleaning supplies adequately and only had really old and worn out chairs which in their opinion, should have been thrown out long ago and replaced with new.

Importantly mums felt that the poor standard of high chair being made available showed a total lack of respect for their children and that adults we would never be asked, nor prepared to sit in such dirty seats.


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