As childcare providers begin to prepare for the new school year, specific questions pop to mind concerning the health and safety of their students during outdoor play.
Below are a few recommendations from the CDC on sanitizing playgrounds and ensuring you implement proper hygiene procedures to maintain a safe environment for your children.
Should my playground be disinfected?
- - Routine cleaning for outdoor areas like playgrounds in schools and parks is recommended, but do not require disinfection.
- - It is not recommended to spray disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds as it is not proven to reduce risk of COVID-19 to the public.
- - Routine cleaning is required for high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings.
- - Wooden surfaces (play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (mulch, sand) do not need to be cleaned nor disinfected.
- - Do not disinfect sidewalks and roads. Spread of COVID-19 from these surfaces is very low and disinfection is not effective.
How should I properly sanitize my playground equipment?
- - A bleach solution of 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water is recommended.
- - Do NOT use bleach (without water) as it may cause colors to fade.
- - Scrub with soap and water solution using a soft sponge or brush. Repeat OFTEN.
- - Use a 70% / 30% Rubbing Alcohol to Water mix to clean surfaces. The surface must remain visibly wet for at least 4 minutes, allowing it to dry on its own. After 4 minutes, the surface may be rinsed thoroughly and wiped dry to eliminate water marks. This solution will lose its effectiveness in about 24 hours, so a new batch must be made each day.
- - Always contact manufacturers to see what they recommend for cleaning equipment. Some cleaning detergents may void existing warranties on equipment.
Storing and handling cleaning chemicals
- - Ensure that cleaning products are not past their expiration date to remain effective.
- - Always store cleaning products away from the reach of children and ensure they are inaccessible to the children in your care.
- - NEVER mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser as toxic gases may form.
- - ALWAYS wear protective gear when applying or mixing cleaners.
As COVID cases continue to rise and new variants begin to emerge, it's imperative to understand and follow safety guidelines on properly sanitizing playground equipment to avoid any transmission.
It's also recommended that you inform your parents about the health and safety approaches you're implementing at your center to diminish any concerns that may create worry and raise the idea of keeping the kids from attending daycare
Utilizing child care management systems like Child Journal can ease the sending of information and keep parents in the loop of your proactive approaches at all times so they could feel comfortable dropping their kids at your care.