Shopping Trolley Covers - What features to look for

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What makes the best shopping trolley cover?  Having trouble deciding which shopping trolley cover to use for you and your little one?  There are many covers available, and it is daunting to know what would best fit for you.  A cover is a cover – right? Well… no.

On researching covers for use with my own children, I was confused as to the types of covers, and wide variance in cost and features.  I would like to share with you my findings and provide a guide to help you decide on features that you should look for when choosing a trolley cover; and what makes a cover worth buying.

First, some facts.
Harmful bacteria and viruses are left on shopping trolleys, this is an unfortunate fact of life.  Independent research has found shopping trolleys to contain e-Coli, Salmonella, Staph, Hepatitis B, Rota Virus, Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, blood (human and produce), semen and mucous, faecal matter, and of course saliva and urine.

#1. Coverage.
First and foremost, this is why we all want one initially, to protect our children from the germs listed above.  The maximum coverage the better – the trolley cover should cover all trolley seat surfaces that may possibly come into contact with your child, this must include the handle as your child will try to play with it!

#2. Safety Belt and Buckle.
This feature intrigued me the most as I found enormous variance between covers.
We need to ensure our young children are buckled in for safet; however some covers only have a belt and buckle on the inside? Not much use really, the cover would fall out with the child. 
Some other covers have holes to allow the trolley-provided belt to be inserted into the cover and around your child.  Babies love to chew and suck on objects, including seatbelts – and to me the potential trolley belt germs are categorised into the same mould as other trolley surfaces, a no go. 
Another form of cover provides holes and its own belt – the idea being that you thread the cover belt into the back of the trolley seat.  This is still not the ideal to me, as your belt is still rubbing against the dirty trolley surfaces and may transfer germs.
My ideal belt has an inner belt to strap your child in, and an outer belt that straps to the trolley, this ensures none of the inner protective cover meets the trolley surface.

#3. Leg Holes.
Leg holes should not be just a rectangular or circular opening where your child sticks their legs through.  The trolley metal between the child leg area is one of the main focal areas for urine and fecal matter.   The cover should have inner leg guards (typically with Velcro fastening) to protect your child in this area, and the hot or cold metal of the trolley.

#4. Padding and Pillows.
Your child and particularly babies will appreciate the padding for comfort, and this will also assist them from ouching themselves against the sides as they strain to reach for the nearest item on the aisle closest to them, or reaching for you or the trolley handle.
A pillow is particularly helpful for babies to sit comfortably and steadily, and will also be appreciated by a tired toddler.  Ensure the pillow is detachable so that is can be removed altogether for an older child.

#5. Versatility.
The more uses the cover has the better. If the cover can fit high chairs, strollers etc, and double as change mat and nappy bag then all the better.

#6. Pockets.
Pockets are great to place extra items into, eg nappies, wipes, rusks, bribe lollies, wallet/purse, keys, and mobile phones.  Zippered compartments are extremely handy.

#7. Toy Loops.
Great aid for keeping your child entertained – attach a toy to the loop so that your child can play and you don’t need to worry about the toy being thrown to the floor.  Good wide toy loops may also serve as drink and bottle holders.

#8. Washing and Drying.
Machine wash should be a mandatory feature.  You will more than likely wish to wash your cover quite frequently given the surfaces it has come into contact with, and should be tumble dry friendly too.  A cover that must be dry-cleaned or hand-washed can be expensive and time consuming.

#9. Storage.
Navigating a cover out of a bag can be a tedious exercise, especially when you are holding a baby or toddler at the same time in front of the trolley.  You could remove the cover from the bag at the car, but then you need to make sure you have it all rolled up and pillows/toys etc do not escape on the journey into the shopping centre. 
When you are finished, attempting to roll up the cover exactly-so with belts and pillow in the right place etc and stuff it into same bag may also prove tricky and time consuming.  A cover that simply rolls up to create its own neat carry bag is a definite plus.

#10. Ease of Use
This is one thing I consider vital.  The ability to unpack the cover (refer to storage), and lay the cover over the trolley single-handed is a must.  Picture that you will unstrap and pickup your baby or toddler from the backseat of the car, then pick up the cover from the car boot, preferably all rolled up and ready to go (refer to #9 Storage). You walk into the shopping centre and find the cleanest looking and least damaged trolley with the least jammed wheels, that appears to travel in a straight line. At this point, unless you have also wheeled a pram in, you need to know that you can unfold the cover and install it with one hand; as you are holding your most precious belonging in the other. 
The reverse is not so finicky, as you will wheel the laden trolley up to your car boot, and you can place your child back into the car and have two hands free to rollup the cover once again.

#11. Cost
The big one.  The more features from #1-10, and the better and stronger the construction and materials are, the more you will most certainly pay.  You can certainly make-do without some of the features above; for example, if you have an older baby or child and don’t so much padding or a pillow.  Only you will know what you can sacrifice on in terms of cost versus convenience.

 

I had researched a wide variety of covers when searching for one for my own children, and while I did find some that came very close; only one met all of my criteria.  It does cost a little more but will provide years of use and to me is a worthwhile and important investment.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have, I will be happy to assist.

Thank You for reading through, please rate my guide if it has helped you to learn about shopping trolley seat covers.

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