We all know that the vast majority of kids aren’t following the twenty-second hand-washing rule during the pandemic, so think about how many tiny organisms are lurking on their hands…
While bacterial and viral infections like COVID-19 differ, a 2018 HomeAdvisor.com study found that areas like rock walls, baby swings, and seesaws each have nine million colony-forming units (CFUs) of bacteria per square inch. That’s about 52,000 times more bacteria than your toilet seat at home. Similarly, slides have an average of six million CFUs per square inch.
“Kids racing down the slide at an outdoor playground may actually encounter around 60,000 times more bacteria than they would at the top of the slide at the local fast food joint or other indoor play area,” the study notes. Crazy, right?
A couple years ago, RealSimple conducted a study with NSF International Swab Testing, examining common surfaces we all come into contact with often. They found that a video game controller in an arcade contained 551 CFUs per square inch. It’s about 69 times the amount of bacteria found on your doctor’s pen.
“Any public play area for kids, with toys or a ball pit, is prone to accumulating germs and infections,” pediatrician Christopher Weiss, DO, previously told USA Today. “Any public spot that lots of hands commonly grab … are likely to be dirty as well.” And you can only imagine how many hands have touched that button or joy stick!