Sunday 6 June 2010

Tidy Trays Sanitary High Chair Tray Covers

At just over ten months old, Pierre has progressed to eating at McDonalds. Before you start calling Social Services, don't panic - he's not tucking into Big Mac and fries ! - but he does like eating bits of apple, grape and pineapple out of the fruit bags in the girls' Happy Meals. Yesterday, he tried a few pieces of cheese and carrot out of my salad. As with all new foods he discovers, he likes to get a good feel first, squishing them around on the high chair tray with his fingers, then running them over his tongue, then back on the tray, then back in his mouth. As all kids are the same, that's a lot of half-chewed food getting squished all over the high chair trays on a daily basis.

The first few times I decided to put Pierre in a McDonalds highchair, I made sure I picked the cleanest, newest-looking one. It looked spotless but the problem with germs is that you never can tell. I thought about spraying sanitiser on the tray before he ate but wasn't keen on his food getting covered in sanitizer either.

Well, Tidy Trays solves this problem in an instant. The product description on the Tidy Trays website says : "Tidy Trays™ are an easy to use, sanitary tray cover. They create a clean, safe eating surface for your child guarding them against germs and bacteria. They fit on every restaurant highchair, food court tray, daycare highchair and residential highchair we've tested in North America and the UK. Tidy Trays™ are easy to clean and machine washable and the built-in sippy cup holder can be used for easy fold away storage. Tidy Trays™ are friendly for the environment and bring you peace of mind while you are dining with your child."

My initial reaction when I pulled it out of the box was that it looks just like an oversized shower cap ! It fits simply over the high chair tray in an instant for immediate peace of mind. I love the brightly coloured cute pictures on the cover and, more importantly, so does Pierre - he sits happily pointing at the pictures while we sort out the girls' food.

As usual, he managed to drop half of his pieces of fruit down the back of the high chair tray between his legs but this time, instead of ending up sitting in a pile of pre-chewed pineapple, the Tidy Tray caught it all because the back edge is designed as a pocket to catch fallen food and spilt drinks.

It was this feature that made me shout "Aha, this has got to be yet another brilliant baby product designed by real parents "! - it's the little parent-friendly features that are always a giveaway ! And, as always, I was quite right !

Dan Cheal, President of Dream Big Innovations, explains on the Tidy Trays website : "Like most children, my two year old daughter, Maddy, loves to eat out at restaurants. One day, we went for a walk to one of her favorites. I grabbed the first high chair I saw, secured Maddy in, and then attached the tray. It took about 2 seconds to see there was a problem; the tray wasn't completely clean. Naturally, my concern was about all the potential bacteria and germs around, especially since Maddy loved to sprawl her food across the tray. This wasn't the first time I felt like this after placing my daughter in a restaurant high chair, but this day, it really made me think. Instead of complaining or turning a blind eye, I wanted to create a solution."

It's so simple, I'm amazed nobody has thought of it before. It works really well and has so obviously been designed with parents in mind. Another handy feature, the little pouch on the side for holding a baby bottle (or in our case, Pierre's dummy and the girls' glasses when they go to play in the soft play area !), allows you to roll it up small and keep it in your handbag or glovebox for when you're out and about. It's wipe clean but also, I was surprised to learn, machine washable.

If you ever eat out, even occasionally, with a baby and use restaurant highchairs, this product is an absolute must. It's not a gadget, it's an essential item of baby equipment.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £14.99

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