Playground Safety Tips For 2021 – Staying Safe During COVID
Most US families are trying to observe the public health restrictions in their areas resulting from COVID-19, but staying in doors indefinitely is unrealistic—especially with kids. Are there activities that we can do with little ones that are relatively safe? How safe is a visit to a playground during the pandemic? Figuring out what makes sense starts with a brief recap of how COVID-19 spreads.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main way coronavirus spreads is through droplet transmission. When someone who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, laughs, talks or even breathes, droplets containing virus particles are released from the mouth or nose. Touching contaminated surfaces may also cause the virus to spread.
Outdoor Playgrounds Present Less Risk
Unlike when you’re indoors in a confined space with many people, the risk of inhaling infectious droplets when you are outdoors is relatively low. The large volume of air has a dilution effect, and outdoor breezes may disperse particles as well.
10 tips to stay COVID-safe at the playground
- Check local public health measures regarding physical distancing, masks, and how far you can travel before planning an outing to a playground—or anywhere.
- Even if your child has only mild sniffles or a slightly upset tummy, don’t go to the playground.
- Try planning your playground outings outside of peak periods of use. Early mornings are frequently less crowded.
- Tempting as it is to socialize with other parents, stay six feet away from anyone who does not live in your household.
- Wipe down swing chairs and other frequently touched areas with disinfectant wipes.
- In the absence of hot water and soap, have your kids clean their hands with sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol before using playground equipment, after playing, before eating, and before leaving the playground. Parents should sanitize regularly as well.
- Bring a water bottle for each person. Avoid using shared water fountains.
- Here’s a tough one: do your best to minimize contact between your kids and others.
- Leave toys at home.
- Encourage children not to touch their faces while playing.
As more people become vaccinated or develop natural immunity, cases of COVID-19 in the US will inevitably drop. But we are not out of the woods yet. Frequent hand hygiene and minimizing physical contact with those outside your household are the most powerful things we can do right now to minimize the spread.
Physical activity comes with many benefits for children and adults alike, so paying attention to how we can continue to go outdoors while doing our part to minimize transmission is important.
Thankfully, given that most playgrounds are outdoors, a trip to the playground is fairly low-risk—especially if you follow our ten tips for staying COVID-safe!