“Playing outdoors is less risky than an indoor playdate, but at the same time, they can pose unique problems when it comes to following pandemic precautions.”
After being cooped up for so many months, parents may have begun to eye playgrounds like a delicious oasis in the middle of the desert. Playgrounds give kids an outlet to run, climb, jump and scream … in a place that’s designed for them to burn off their energy! But are playgrounds safe during a pandemic? The answer is … a little uncertain right now.
Keep Kids Safe At Playgrounds
On one hand, it appears that coronavirus is spread more inside than outside. So, playing outdoors is less risky than an indoor playdate. At the same time, playgrounds pose unique problems when it comes to following pandemic precautions.
If you’re heading to the playground, read on. | Image source: iStock
Rules are a challenge
Young kids may have a hard time following the rules, so enforcing physical distancing and face masks could be a challenge for parents. The nature of a playground is also very hands-on. Even though we’ve learnt that coronavirus transmission often happens through airborne particles, it’s also possible that it could be spread by touch, especially on surfaces that are palmed by a lot of little hands. If your child sneezes on her hand or picks her nose (kids will be kids!) before pawing the slide railing, they have just transferred their germs to the slide railing, making it possible that the next kid climbing up to take his turn will pick them up.
If you are planning on making a trip to the playground, below are a few tips for keeping your family healthy.
Steer clear of packed playgrounds
If the playground’s hopping, get walking. Depending on how large the space is, if there are 10 or more people present, that should be your cue to come back later. The fewer children that are playing, the easier it will be to maintain a safe distance from others and the lower your exposure risk. Hit up the playground during times where there aren’t likely to be a tonne of families around … maybe first thing in the morning or on a weekday when other children might be in school.
Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise
Keep kids safe at playgrounds by packing some hand sanitiser with at least 60 percent alcohol. You may also want to bring along some sanitising wipes (make your own with this DIY substitute: Cut some paper towels into hand-sized squares and put a bunch into a Ziploc bag and pour in an ounce of isopropyl alcohol, and zip it tightly closed). Your child should wash or sanitise their hands before and after touching the equipment. While it’s probably not realistic for you to wipe down the entire jungle gym with sanitising wipes, wipe down the high-touch surfaces that you can: the handles of a seesaw, the bench or picnic table you’ve parked at, the chains of the swing that your child might hold onto, and so on.
Keep kids safe at playgrounds: Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise! | Image source: iStock
Keep your distance
Keeping physical distance helps slow the spread of the virus by making it less likely that aerosol droplets expelled while we talk, sneeze, or cough will reach another person. While waiting for the slide or swings, have your child stand two metres (or more!) from the child in front of them.
Stay away if you’re sick
If you or your child have any symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever, etc), skip the playground altogether. Even if you think it’s probably just a cold, please don’t put other playground goers at risk!
Monitor coronavirus cases in your community
Keep tabs on the COVID cases in your city. If they’re steadily falling, a playground outing gets less and less risky. However, if they’re on the rise, it’s best to stick close to home.
Opt for playground alternatives when you can
An open green space or hiking trail might be a safer way for your child to get some sunshine and exercise … without coming into close contact with others.
Dr. Harvey Karp is the founder of Happiest Baby and one of America’s most trusted paediatricians. His highly innovative and celebrated books/videos, The Happiest Baby on the Block, The Happiest Toddler on the Block and The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep have been translated into dozens of languages and have made him one of the world’s most renowned baby and sleep experts. Dr. Karp’s breakthrough discoveries —the calming reflex, the 5 S’s and Toddler-ese — have benefited millions of parents and are taught by thousands of specially trained educators in over 20 nations.
An open green space might be a better option for now. | Image source: iStock.
This article was first published in KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
Hand Washing Vs Hand Sanitizer: How Effective Are They?
Safe Sanitisers For Children: Review Of 6 Best Hand Sanitisers For Kids In Singapore
Four People Suffer Skin Irritation At Sentosa Beaches, NEA Urge Users to Stay Clean
‘Family Litter Secrets’: Mum-of-three Shares How to Teach Kids About Good Hygiene and Cleanliness