COVID-19 Pandemic: Why taking the kids to a playground isn’t a good idea

COVID-19 Pandemic: Why taking the kids to a playground isn’t a good idea
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Some parents are finding it difficult to keep their kids active during the COVID-19 pandemic and are still allowing them to play at playgrounds with other kids.

Even if you are making sure they’re social distancing, there’s a reason taking them isn’t a good idea right now.

Since all those kids are still touching the same surfaces and the virus can live on those surfaces for several hours to days, health officials say it’s best to stay away.

According to a new study from the New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19 can linger:

  • On plastic: After eight hours, only 10 percent of the virus was still there, but it did not become undetectable until after 72 hours.
  • On stainless steel: The numbers began plummeting after just four hours, becoming undetectable after about 48 hours.
  • On copper: Undetectable after eight hours.
  • On cardboard: Undetectable after 48 hours.

University of Alabama at Birmingham’s expert Samiksha Raut, Ph.D. says it’s important for parents to keep their kids at home and away from playgrounds and shared toys and sports equipment while we’re going through this pandemic.

“Kids are constantly moving from one part of the playground to another and are quite prone to touching their faces — nose, eyes, etc. at intervals,” Raut said. “Therefore, if they happen to touch an object with the novel coronavirus, the chances of getting infected are very high. Despite the emerging evidence that children continue to show mild symptoms of COVID-19, they can still function as active carriers of the virus, especially in the asymptomatic phase. Above all, given their ages they do not understand the importance of social distancing and, hence, should be actively supervised by parents and/or caretakers.”

The CDC recommends the following hygiene guidelines right now to help reduce the community impact of the COVID-19 spread:

  • Make sure the children wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Keep children quarantined from a family member who is sick with the virus.
  • Periodically clean and disinfect the high-touch surface areas like table-tops, chairs, remote controls, doorknobs, toilets and light switches.
  • Wash plush toys and stuffed animals in the washing machine by following instructions. Wash their clothes separately from the clothes of a family member who is under quarantine period.

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