Which shopping cart covers are best?
If your little one is old enough to sit in a shopping cart, it might be time to invest in a shopping cart cover. Not only are shopping carts teeming with bacteria, but the seats are often hard and uncomfortable as well, with lots of sharp edges and pinch points to look out for. A shopping cart cover can help keep germs off your baby’s hands while improving comfort at the same time.
Most shopping cart covers are generously padded for comfort, though quality can vary. Size, portability, and special features, such as seat positioners, are just a few other factors to keep in mind while you shop. Many, like the feature-rich Boppy Preferred Shopping Cart and High Cover, offer two products in one and can be used both for shopping as well as on restaurant high chairs.
What to know before you buy shopping cart covers
Just about all shopping cart covers have a universal fit that works with most standard shopping carts. However, if you regularly shop at stores that have larger carts, such as Target, Wal-Mart, or Costco, purchasing an extra-large model is a good idea. If you need to shop with two little ones in tow, be sure to pick a two-seater shopping cart cover.
For little ones, sitting still for any length of time can be difficult, and sitting in an uncomfortable shopping cart can make it even tougher. When it comes to comfort, padding is one element you don’t want to skimp on. Generally, the more padding a shopping cart has, the greater your child’s comfort will be, particularly when it comes to the crotch and leg areas. While most shopping cart covers provide a decent amount of padding, some are quite thin, so be sure to inspect any prospective models before you buy.
Little kids can create quite the mess and even if they don’t, you’ll need to clean your shopping cart cover regularly to keep things hygienic. Since most parents already have their hands full, choosing a model that can simply be thrown into the washing machine can be helpful.
Shopping cart covers are meant to be used out and about, so don’t forget to consider portability. The best shopping cart covers are easy to fold and either come with a carry case or a built-in storage pocket that the cover folds down into.
What to look for in quality shopping cart covers
Pockets and compartments
Shopping cart covers that come with onboard storage for everyday essentials, such as phones, wallets, or keys can be ideal for those times when you don’t want to lug a full-size handbag to the store. Even if you don’t mind carrying a purse, a few pockets and compartments can still come in handy for storing wet wipes, toys, pacifiers, and other small items. Some shopping cart covers even feature clear windows for smart devices to help keep babies entertained.
Safety straps are an essential feature for any shopping cart cover. Without a sturdy safety strap to hold them in place, little ones could manage to wriggle or climb out of the seat, potentially resulting in a nasty fall. It’s worth noting that most shopping cart covers only come with two-point waist belts and don’t usually feature shoulder straps. If your tot is still learning to sit up, your best bet is to simply place your car seat in the shopping cart itself.
Seat positioners are basically cushions designed to provide extra support around the sides and back. These are usually intended for younger babies who are still somewhat unsteady when sitting unassisted.
Colors and prints
Shopping cart covers are available in a wide variety of colors and prints. If you plan to use your shopping cart cover as a high chair cover as well, darker colors, prints, and patterns can do a great job of camouflaging any stubborn stains leftover from mealtimes.
How much you can expect to spend on shopping cart covers
Quality shopping cart covers with a decent amount of padding generally start out at around $20 to $30. If you’re after a premium model made of high-quality materials, such as organic cotton, that comes with plenty of padding and desirable features, expect to pay anywhere from around $30 to $50.
Shopping cart covers FAQ
When should I start using a shopping cart cover?
A. A shopping cart cover can be used as soon as your baby is able to sit up unassisted. While every baby is different, this generally occurs somewhere between the ages of four to seven months. If your little one is learning to sit, but still seems a bit unsteady, adding a seat positioner can provide extra stability.
What’s the best way to clean my shopping cart cover?
A. Babies can be messy, and that’s precisely why many shopping cart covers are made from materials that wipe down quickly and easily. For a deeper clean, you’ll need to wash your shopping cart cover. While many are machine-washable, it’s still a good idea to check the manufacturer’s care label before cleaning.
What are the best shopping cart covers to buy?
Top shopping cart cover
What you need to know: This shopping cart cover checks just about all the boxes with high-quality construction, generous padding, and a universal fit.
What you’ll love: Features a roomy design that fits most shopping carts and restaurant high chairs. Generous padding and a plush seat provide all-around comfort. Boasts a highly portable design that folds down into a built-in storage pouch. Comes with handy toy loops and a complimentary toy to keep tots entertained.
What you should consider: Lacks additional storage pouches and compartments. Costs a bit more than others in our roundup.
Top shopping cart cover for money
What you need to know: This simple and affordable shopping cart cover is a top choice for budget-minded parents.
What you’ll love: Features a basic design that easily fits over most standard shopping carts and high chairs. Folds down quickly and easily into an attached storage pouch. Comes with two attachment loops for your little one’s favorite toys. Delivers affordable functionality.
What you should consider: Could do with a bit of extra padding. Doesn’t come with additional compartments. Not compatible with all carts and high chairs.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: An easy-to-use shopping cart cover with a clear pocket for smartphones that allows little ones to watch their favorite cartoons while you shop.
What you’ll love: Made with stretch-to-fit fabric that makes installation a breeze. Fits most shopping carts and high chairs, thanks to its stretchy design. Features a clear phone pouch for baby’s entertainment. Nicely padded for extra comfort. Rolls up easily for on-the-go use.
What you should consider: While it fits most shopping carts with ease, it might be a tight squeeze on larger carts.
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Erica van Blommestein writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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