Do you ever let your child ride in the front basket of a shopping cart? I did it just yesterday — but I may never do it again after reading this. In fact, I may not even use the carts myself.

Preliminary results from a new study out of the Univerisity of Arizona found fecal bacteria on the majority of carts tested and Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, on at least half of them.

“That’s more than you find in a supermarket’s restroom,” said Charles Gerba, the lead researcher on the study and a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. “That’s because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts.”

For the study, researchers swabbed the handles of 85 shopping carts. They found fecal bacteria on 72 percent of the carts and E. coli as well as other bacteria on over 50 percent of the carts. Researchers think this may explain earlier research that revealed that kids who rode in shopping carts were more likely than others to develop infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter.

Ready to skip the cart on your next shopping trip? Me too, but experts say that simply wiping the cart handle with an alcohol rub or baby wipe will do the trick — until the next kid comes along.

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