Germ Wars: When is the Battle a Lost Cause?

This Clean 'n Comfy cart cover from One Step Ahead sure is sweet, but is it necessary?

The other day I was at the grocery store madly stuffing food into the cart as my toddler, 10 minutes away from her regularly-schedule nap, was beginning to rub her eyes and get a bit persnickety. Not wanting to endure the wrath of a sleepy 17-month-old, I hightailed it to the checkout.

Standing in front of us in line was a family that may well have been enshrouded in a giant bubble: Mom was vigorously rubbing down all of her exposed body parts with hand sanitizer, dad was ensuring that every single piece of produce was perfectly wrapped in a landfill-loathing clear plastic bag for fear that it might actually touch the conveyor belt and baby was avoiding any silent killers that might have been laying in wait in the grocery cart seat with an elaborate, though beautiful, grocery cart cover.

I sheepishly looked over at my own child who, by this point, was alternately chewing on my keys and at the nubby end of a bunch of bananas. Though I scoff at the habits of self-professed germophobes, I sometimes self-consciously wonder if I’m putting my child in harm’s way. As a baby, she met the hands of many adoring strangers when we were out and about. And though we enforce lots of hand-washing at home, I’m not with her all day at daycare so I surely can’t control what she’s picking up and putting in her mouth.

Of course no parent wants to watch their child suffer through a miserable cold or something worse, but at what point do you put down the anti-bacterial toilet seat covers and just hope for the best?

What are your thoughts?

—Christina, CF’s managing editor

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