Now that all 50 states are reopening, children in some areas are once again can zip down slides and swing from monkey bars after months of waiting. A handful of states, including Massachusetts, Colorado, Ohio, and Iowa, announced in June that playgrounds could start reopening (though the decision to open town or city-owned playgrounds is usually made locally.) While this is good news for children, some parents are still a bit hesitant and cautious. The coronavirus is still spreading, and a vaccine isn’t expected until next year at the earliest. So, is it really ok to return to the playground?
It’s impossible to negate all risks of contracting the virus at a place like a playground, which is frequented by large numbers of people. However, outdoor playgrounds do have the benefit of space and fresh air. It’s important to note that a crowded playground is riskier, as it makes it hard to maintain social distancing. So, in such a scenario, you should seek an alternative facility. Regarding how long the virus can live on playground surfaces, it’s still unclear. The C.D.C. recommends that playground surfaces made of plastic or metal, like grab bars and railings, be cleaned regularly, but said they do not require disinfection.
So, what can you do to protect your little ones in the playground? First, the C.D.C. recommends wearing masks in playgrounds. Of course, the child’s age should be taken into account, as, according to the C.D.C, “Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than two years of age.” The C.D.C has also said that people can contract Covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. So, it’s important to make sure your children aren’t touching their faces after touching playground surfaces. Again, if the playground is too crowded, come back a different day or go somewhere else. Also, make sure to wash or sanitize your child’s hands constantly. Bring your water bottle from home so that you can wash their hands (the C.D.C. says that sanitizer is less effective on dirty or greasy hands,) and so they won’t drink out of the water fountains which may be infected. Please be safe and make sure your little ones are too.