Is It Safe To Take My Kids To The Playground Amid Covid-19?
Please note: the government has just announced that all playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks will be closed from Monday 30 March 2020.
Original article: Despite all our best efforts to self-isolate our families, we need fresh air, open spaces, movement and connection for our overall well being. This is especially true for our kids. Cabin fever is real, and these long days indoors can send us all a bit batty.
If you are blessed with a backyard, and maybe even a pool or trampoline, you might consider yourself sorted. But what if your quarantined kids have energy to burn with not a patch of green in sight? Or if you've exhausted all your entertainment options and need a little reprieve before you blow a gasket? Is it safe to take a teeny tiny trip to the playground?
The answer is a resounding no.
Sadly, our favourite play spaces are off-limits during the Coronavirus pandemic, and it's not just to avoid people. While we do need to give everyone a wide berth to ward-off potential infection, play equipment can also be contaminated.
COVID-19 lingers on surfaces including swings and slides, and while we don’t know exactly how this could impact our kids (the virus is generally only spread via direct human contact) it is better to be safe than sorry.
According to research conducted by the University of California, the Covid-19 virus tends to linger longer on plastic than any other material, so plastic slides, climbing walls and tunnels are most likely to harbour the virus. Metal equipment does not fare much better, so monkey bars, metal slides and chain swings are all susceptible, and wooden equipment like playhouses can also be a carrier. The biggest no-no are sandpits - the worst offender when it comes to hiding germs and parasites.
Worse still, talk about timing! Heat, humidity and UV rays are considered to be virus killers, so summer should bring its own natural sanitation. However, being in the dead of winter means those pesky germs will stick around.
For now, the message is clear. We need to stay home, especially with young kids. However, the great outdoors are not completely out of bounds!
If you need a nature fix, playgrounds are out, but some parks are still open. Take your own toys like scooters, balls and frisbees, and find yourself some open space at a local park, avoiding anywhere with too many people around. Keep your outings small with people from your inner circle (who of course are not sick or high risk) and limit hands-on contact.
With precautions in place, you can breathe some fresh air, take a break from confinement and still have some fun. Just what the doctor ordered!
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