When COVID-19 began traversing the world, it quickly became apparent that daily life needed to change. The disease was spreading too fast for hospitals to keep up with, so areas that usually saw large gatherings shut down. Playgrounds closed and left kids around the nation at home with their families, limiting how they could get outside and have fun.
Although many playgrounds remain closed, some are beginning to reopen as states slow the spread of coronavirus. How can parents and teachers allow kids to play without causing these areas to become future hotspots?
Read on to discover how to keep outdoor play areas germ-free with these COVID-19 cleaning tips.
Schedule Regular Cleanings
COVID-19 is about three times more infectious than the flu, and the most common way to contract it is to come into contact with droplets from someone coughing or sneezing. You must clean surfaces frequently to prevent children from getting sick.
Areas with high amounts of traffic, like school playgrounds, should be disinfected at least a few times a day. The city may monitor public playgrounds, but parents and caretakers can help by wiping down surfaces before kids start to play.
Try Pressure Washing
Before a playground reopens and potentially once a week after it closes for the day, staff members should clean the surfaces with a pressure washer. The high powered water streams blast away any lingering germs and bacteria. It can also get into microscopic cracks and openings where COVID-19 could hide from a large object like a sponge.
Research Your Products
Before you head to the store — or look in your kitchen cabinets — research which products work best on the disease. Experts recommend making a bleach solution, adding five tablespoons of the cleaner to one gallon of water. You can also use an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol.
Don't use these products when kids are around, as they emit harmful gases that can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing. Allow the equipment to dry completely before you reopen the playground.
Provide Hand Sanitizer Stations
Give kids and families the power to stay safe by providing hand sanitizer stations at playgrounds. You should also hang up posters that teach children how to use the product correctly. For instance, you'll need to use enough to cover your entire hands. Then, you should rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds — until your skin feels dry.
Practice New Hygiene Routines
Everyone should also practice new hygiene routines when using equipment. Wash your hands before and after leaving the playground. Encourage kids to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks and maintaining a distance of six feet from one another. Every little effort helps stop this disease in its tracks.
Get the Kids Involved in Cleaning
Parents and teachers can do everything possible to keep children safe, but it's always easier when the kids get involved. Make the experience less scary and more enjoyable by implementing a reward system. Give stickers or treats to kids who wash their hands or sanitize before switching to a new part of the playground. They'll love the encouragement, and caretakers will have an easier time making the area safe for everyone.