I live in New York and ever day I walk by kiddo playgrounds which I am sure (aside from the city dirt and grime) has plenty of germs. In any metropolitan city, or even the suburbs, it is important to get kids outside, playing in the sunshine and most importantly – active and not cooped at home. So how do you protect your little one from the many germs that reside on public playgrounds?
Firstly – relax. We all follow the smart mommy guide’s anti-germ playbook: regular hand washing, once-a-day kitchen counter wiping, and the like. The vast majority of germs are harmless; experts even say they can be helpful. “Exposure to germs is what teaches young immune systems to fend off bad bugs and mature into efficient germ fighters.”
Secondly – Hand washing is key. Wash before the playground and after the playground. Carry those pop-up wet ones in the car with you at all times. You really can’t keep kids from all the germs in the world. Like I mentioned, actually exposing them to germs (a little at a time) helps build their immune system. Once they are in kindergarten, they are exposed to the same germs so building the immune system now, may help later.
Lastly – public sandboxes are pretty dirty and I would do my best to keep your kids out.
Kids may see the playground sandbox as their own little beach in the city or suburbs, but cats, dogs and other unknown critters consider it a public litter box. Although the risk is small, if your child sticks his fingers into his mouth after playing in sand soiled with animal feces, he or she could get sick with parasites like roundworms, which can lead to fever and stomach pains; or hookworms, which result in painful skin infections and diarrhea. I love handy anti-bacterial wipes! When your kiddo is finished playing, use the handy wipe and then wash them again with soap and water when you get home to remove lingering traces of dirt.
Voila- playing outside isn’t so bad after all!