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How's this for gross: A new study from researchers at the University of Arizona found that a full 50 percent of shopping cart handles tested showed traces of E. coli, and more than 70 percent had traces of fecal bacteria. In other words, those "crazy" people you see with the fabric shopping cart covers? Not so crazy. In fact, according to this study, the average shopping cart has more E. coli than the grocery store restroom. (Think about that when your toddler starts slobbering all over the handle!)
As msnbc.com reported, although exposure to dirty shopping cart handles can make your kid sick -- Charles Gerba, the study's lead researcher, pointed to earlier studies that showed in increase in infections like salmonella in kids that ride in shopping carts -- it's certainly not a given, so you shouldn't be too worried. (Consider how many times you go shopping, after all.)
Still, the study's researchers say it's smart to clean the cart handle with a disinfecting wipe before using it. And as for those cloth shopping cart covers? Maybe we give them a second chance.