As the new year fast approaches and lockdown measures ease down in some states in India, many families are looking forward to taking their kids back on swings, slides, and monkey bars. With many parks slowly reopening, how can parents ensure that the trip to the nearest playground is safe for them and their kids?
A great place to start is by understanding how COVID spreads and what you can do to limit the transmission.
Mediums of Transmission
The way COVID spreads is through droplet transmission. The droplets from an infected person can be released from the nose or mouth region during talking, sneezing, coughs, and even breaths. The more intense the activity, the greater the spread and volume of droplets.
Large droplets usually fall to the ground quickly, within a short distance of release. However, one can inhale them if they’re standing too close to the infected individual.
Small droplets can linger in the air for longer and can travel further than large droplets.
Another medium of transmission is coming in contact with contaminated surfaces. This can happen when contaminated hands touch the surface or if the droplets fall onto the surface. An uninfected individual can become infected after touching the contaminated surface and then touching their food or face.
Keep in mind the virus can remain active on plastic and metal surfaces for many days.
Playgrounds are Outdoors – That’s a Plus!
A great thing about playgrounds is that they are normally located in the outdoors. Due to this, the risk of inhaling the virus is reduced. This because outdoor breeze has a dilution effect and can easily disperse the infectious droplets.
Warm temperature also has a part to play in reducing the viability of the COVID virus. Sunlight during the day can inactivate the virus. Therefore, it is recommended to head to the playground during the day.
However, a small amount of risk will remain since playground equipment is not always cleaned regularly.
Tips to Stay Safe at the Playground
It is essential to follow COVID-related safety guidelines before stepping outside with your kids. However, if you are planning to take a trip to the playground, listed below are some important tips to keep in mind.
- Don’t head to the playground if you or your kid has any COVID-19 symptoms (sniffles, upset tummy, fever, cough).
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet from other parents in the playground.
- Carry wet wipes or disinfectant wipes to clean areas of playground equipment that your kids will frequently touch.
- Do carry extra face masks for you and your kids.
- Carry a hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol). Ensure that your kids sanitize their hands before they get on play equipment and after they get off.
- Avoid using water fountains or shared taps. Instead, bring bottled water along.
- Remind your kids to avoid touching their face while and after using the play equipment.
- Ensure that there is no physical contact between your kids and other kids.
- Avoid sharing toys. It’s best to not bring one along. However, if you do, ensure that they are washable.
- Visit the playground outside of peak hours to reduce contact with others.
In conclusion, when you visit the playground with your kids, the focus should be on preventing physical contact, avoiding touching the face, and frequent hand hygiene.