Managing germ fears

I come from a line of germophobes on my mom’s side.  These are ladies obsessed with things like hand-washing and house-cleaning.  While I’m not quite as stringent about some things (as anyone who has ever dropped by my home unexpectedly can tell you!), I do have a few germ issues of my own, especially when it comes to my daughter.  Given that she was born at the height of H1N1 last fall, and I’d prefer to keep her in a bubble in public if possible sometimes.

But, I try to be relatively normal and use common sense.  We use a shopping cart cover for long grocery trips and keep wipes by the door so when she comes in, she knows her hands will be washed.  Before she started eating table food, we got a portable high chair with detachable toys on the tray to take to restaurants and keep her entertained.  We continued the habit when she started eating table food.  We know the high chair is clean and so is its attached tray.  I can put food for her on it and not fret.

Sometimes I feel like that could be overkill, but last week a study was released that makes me feel much less a freak for taking our own high chair.  According to the study conducted by antibacterial product manufacturer, Microban, swabs from high chairs at 30 different restaurants in the United States had more bacteria than the average public toilet seat.  Holy cow!  The bacteria included E-coli and Staph aureus.

Here’s the thing.  My daughter also loves to put things in her mouth.  When we have used restaurant high chairs, I’ve seen her lean over and start to mouth them.  I won’t even let her near our clean toilet seat at home.  I can’t let my mind go to the comparison for the restaurant version.  Yikes!

Maybe it’s time for restaurants to start offering antibacterial wipes for high chairs like grocery stores do for shopping carts.  In the meantime, we’re either dining out with our high chair or taking our own antibacterial wipes with us.  I’m too much of a germophobe not to!

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