Baby high chairs in restaurants have more bacteria than the average public toilet seat, according to the latest research.
Tests carried out on high chairs in 30 restaurants found the amount of bacteria present averaged out at 147 per square metre - compared with eight per square metre on public toilets.
The findings included E-coli. Staph aureus and enterococcus faecalis.
Mums and dads are now being warned to make sure high chairs are thoroughly cleaned before using them for their children.
Dr Nicholas Moon from Microban, the company who carried out the research in restaurants throughout the USA, said the results were 'worrying':
'The test results varied considerably and while some of the high chairs were relatively clean, others had concentrations of bacteria as high as 1,200 bacteria per square centimetre, which is worrying.'
Acknowledging the tests were conducted in the USA, he added 'I would suspect that the high chairs in restaurants in this country would if anything be even dirtier as we tend to be less thorough about our hygiene than the Americans.'
A microbiologist from Queen Mary, University of London, Dr Ron Cutler, warned that if the research was accurate, children were at risk: 'While you would not expect a high chair to be as clean as a hospital it should certainly be preferable that they were cleaner than this report indicates. Children could potentially be getting ill as a result of contact with high chairs if this report is accurate. The chairs with cloth cushions on them are probably the worst culprits because these are hardest to keep clean during the course of the day.'
What are your experiences of standards of cleanliness in restaurants?
Have you had to ask for high chairs to be cleaned before you could use them?