Parents have called for tests on restaurant furniture to be part of hygiene inspections after highchairs were found to be dirtier than tables.
Samples taken at Stoke-on-Trent restaurants by the BBC revealed bacteria on highchairs that could have been removed with “modest cleaning”.
One mother said the results were “very worrying”, though the bacteria found was not a health risk, experts said.
The Food Standards Agency said hygiene criteria did not cover such furniture.
Dr Andrew Morris, from Keele University, said some of the nine highchairs swabbed by the BBC had more than 12 times the amount of bacteria that would be expected on the day they were tested.
He labelled it “a failing in diligent cleaning”.
Dr Morris said the level of bacteria found would not cause babies or children