Keeping table time hygienic when you eat out

10/08/2006 at 10:51 PM ET

RitzysitzyI’m a little bit of a germophobe so when we eat out, I like to keep things clean for Anya.  First we cover the frequently yucky restaurant highchair with a highchair cover like one from Itzy Ritzy (formerly known as Cuter Than a Duck’s Butt).  I love this type of cover because it also works with equally yucky supermarket carts.  They come in over 20 print and fabric combinations and are machine washable. Then we lay down something to cover the table top so we can put down some food so she can feed herself. (They can also be used on shopping carts!)

Tabletopper_lI carry a few TableToppers by Neat Solutions  in Anya’s food bag, and when we’re at a restaurant, I put one down and spread her finger food on it.  In a similar vein, my friend Charita is a big fan of the Kiddopotamus Tiny Diner Portable Placement. It’s soft, dishwasher safe and rolls up so you can stash it in your diaper bag.

Kiddopatumus also makes an excellent bib called the Bibbity Rinse & Roll Bib and Baby Bjorn has a great one with a pocket called the Soft Bib, but they can be a little bulky in your diaper bag so for unexpected meals on the go, I keep at least one disposable bib in my diaper bag. My favorite is the Pampers Pocket Bibster. The paper-towel-like cloth is absorbent, it has a pocket to catch stray Cheerios, and is easier to take on and off than other brands because it uses a velcro closure instead of tape so if your baby yanks it off, you can put it back on easily. It comes in two sizes that are great for both infants over six months and toddlers.

Floor_topper_lNeat Solutions also makes a FloorTopper, a disposable floor mat.  These would come in very handy when we go to our favorite Chinese restaurant, which is unfortunately carpeted and harder to clean up the food that Anya either drops or flings. (For the home, you can also get their reusable Meal and Play Mat.)

All_in_one_largeFor meals on the go, I also like their All-in-One Meal Kits, which includes disposable bib, Table Topper, spoon and fork all inside a sippy cup. For environmental reasons, I wouldn’t use these all of the time but keeping a back-up in the car, stroller or diaper bag has saved me many a time.

The Neat Solutions products are available at many baby stores and online.

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