A recent study shows restaurant high chairs harbor more bacteria than public toilet seats, a lot more -- 147 per square centimeter for high chairs, compared with an average 8 per square centimeter for toilet seats!
Beyond the ewww factor, the bacteria can be dangerous too and pass along such things as E. coli and Staph aureus to your child.
Even those that appear nice and shiny clean could be harboring the germs.
The report found high levels of bacteria even on high chairs that looked clean to the visible eye -- indicating that even when staff clear obvious spillages they are not using antibacterial spray cleaners to ensure that the chair is thoroughly cleaned before the next child sits down.
This is one of those studies where you just want to plug your ears and yell, "LA, LA, LA, LA" because you don't really want to know, do you?
Because you know the next time you're in a restaurant, and your kid is on the verge of a meltdown if he doesn't get some food NOW, and all you want to do is set him down in that high chair, you're going to pause and think of this study.
And then you're going to feel guilty and start digging through your diaper bag for some sort of disinfecting wipes as he tries to run away; and if you don't have any, then you may try some regular wipes or just give it a swipe or two with a napkin.
But this damn study is going to be there in the back of your mind nagging you that you're putting your kid at risk ... and ruining your lunch.
From the food we eat that's constantly getting recalled to studies about the filthiness of the places in which we eat it, eating is a scary business these days ... or so it seems.
Somehow we all survived growing up when our mothers never wiped off anything and just picked up our rare, non-organic burger up off the floor and put it right back on our dirty tray. And we know that some exposure to germs is good to help build one's immunity.
But all that fades fast when you think of your kid being served dinner on a public toilet seat.
No one wants to see their child sick, and it's great to do what we can to protect them. But we also can't sterilize the entire world, and we have to let them eat something ... though the thought of doing so becomes less and less appetizing the more studies like this we see.
Are you surprised to learn how dirty restaurant high chairs are? Do you always wipe them down before your child uses one?
Image via Abbybatchelder/Flickr