New mum Vivienne Wardrop, from the Gold Coast, says the past few days have been “terrifying.”
Her 10-month-old son, usually a happy healthy baby boy, became desperately ill and ended up in intensive care.
The new mum had earlier taken her son, Logan, to her local shopping centre and placed him in the trolley without even considering he might be at risk.
It wasn’t until the next day when her 10-month-old woke up desperately ill that she second guessed her everyday shopping trip.
Vivienne told Mamamia that watching Logan change from a "bubbly little baby" to a baby who "couldn't barely open his eyes" or "barely respond" was one of the scariest things she has ever gone through.
Her Facebook post has gone viral after warning other parents to be careful as she “never thought something like this could happen”.
"Just wanted to warn parents against using baby seats in trolley without wiping down or using a blanket.
Didn't even think about it just popped him in and did a quick shop. I hadn't been anywhere with him in a week so doctors advised only place he could of gotten it.
My 10-month old woke up the next morning so sick. Took him to hospital and he ended up in intensive care for 8 days. He ended up catching adenovirus, rotavirus, salmonella poisoning and got meningitis because of the strain on his body. Ended up with a central line as his veins were collapsing due to severe dehydration. He was in hospital for a total of 10 days and will still take another week or 2 to fully recover.
So please be careful I never thought something like this could happen.”
Vivienne told Mamamia that she will never forget watching his eyes roll in the back of his head and go floppy.
"It is something no parent should ever have to experience," she said.
For years we have been told shopping trolleys can be germ havens.
A study in 2011 warned us that shopping trolleys contain more dirt and grime than the average public toilet. The study found that 72% of trolleys came up positive for faecal bacteria and half showed traces of the potentially deadly bug E. coli.
Researchers said that the germs usually came from people failing to wash their hands adequately after going to the toilet.
Just five years after that study we have seen an increased consumer awareness about germs and the rise of anti-bacterial products on mass. It’s hard to go into a supermarket these days without being bombarded with them, and many offer a free “wipe” near the shopping trolley dock.
After Vivienne shared her post shocked parents responded saying they would be sure from now on to use the antibacterial wipes provided, or to purchase trolley covers.
One wrote: "I can't believe how bad germs can be on things and what a massive affect they have on our babies. Bleaching the house three times over tomorrow.”
Another said she refuses to ever use a trolley.
“I put my daughter in the trolley once without a blanket and she got ring worm on her face the next day.”
One mum said she now feels that she is doing the right thing by wiping over her trolley.
“I don't feel so crazy for madly wiping the trolley over with anti bac wipes each shop now.”
Another agreed. “Me too! I use like ten wipes before he even sits in it. People look at me like I'm crazy!”
While mother after mother said they would now be taking “Glen 20” and antibacterial wipes out shopping with them after reading of Logan’s illness some were a little less concerned.
“I've had 3 kids over 8 years all have sat in trolleys without any covers none have ever been sick.”
In a similar online chat about fears over shopping trolleys one mum said: “Yes, there are germs on shopping trolleys. Just as there are on the ground, in the park, my kitchen floor, and lots of other places my children crawled. Not to mention sharing food with the dog and kissing the cat… Unless a child is immuno-suppressed, they are pretty resilient little beings. My DD has never been sick with anything other than the usual coughs and colds. My DS has been hospitalised twice, once with pneumococcal disease and once with cellulitis. Did he catch either from a shopping trolley? No. Would a trolley cover have protected him? I don't think so."
Allen Cheng, a specialist in infectious diseases and an epidemiologist based at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University told Mamamia that without “knowing the details” it was “hard to comment”.
But, from the information in the Facebook post he said: “It sounds like an odd constellation of diseases to get from a shopping trolley, and I'm not sure it would be easy to exclude other sources of infection.”
He played down fears that parents need to avoid shopping trolleys altogether saying that there shouldn’t be “cause to worry”.
“Bacteria and viruses -including some of those mentioned - can certainly be transmitted by contact with objects, and I suppose shopping trolleys are at slightly higher risk because they are coming into contact with your food.”
Watch a mother's warning on vaccinations: This is my 5-week-old baby with whooping cough. Post continues after video.
Professor Cheng said that the risks from a shopping trolley were just a part of life.
“However, I think this risk is part of the usual activity of living and working with other people.”
He says parents should relax and shouldn’t be too concerned.
“We are constantly surrounded by germs in the environment, and apart from important times, after going to the toilet, preparing food, caring for cuts or grazes, our body defences are generally pretty good at keeping us well.”
But Vivienne, who still waiting for Logan to fully recover, swears she will wipe down trolleys from now on, always with antibacterial wipes or use a blanket or trolley cover in future - or use a baby carrier instead of ever risking her baby by putting him in another supermarket trolley.