Kids' Health

How to Keep Kids Germ-Free on the Playground

No matter how glued they are to their devices, kids will always prefer outdoor play if you let them.

Speaking of outdoor activities, nothing is more attractive for children than the playground. With so many things to do and stuff to play with, the playground is the perfect spot for kids to learn, play, and socialize.

Unfortunately, playgrounds are also a breeding ground for bacteria. Research finds that high-traffic areas on playgrounds like baby swings, seesaws, and rock walls, have 9 million CFUs per square inch. That’s 52,000 times more than the bacteria found in a toilet seat!

Why are Playgrounds so Germ-Ridden?

Aside from the fact that playgrounds aren’t cleaned often, the reason why they are hotspots for germs is that they are also open to more than just germy kids.

Playgrounds are frequently visited by wildlife like squirrels, birds, raccoons, and many others that leave droppings behind. As we all know, droppings contain disease-carrying bacteria.

How do I Keep my Child Germ-Free on the Playground?

Fortunately, there are several things we can do to prevent our kids from getting exposed to germs and bacteria on the playground.

Most of them have to do with teaching your child some simple dos and don’ts when playing outdoors.

Talk to Your Kids About Hygiene

You can’t possibly create an antiseptic world for your child, but you can teach them proper hygiene so they have a defense against disease-causing germs and bacteria.

Start teaching your kids about the importance of hygiene no matter how young they are. Be a good role model. If you want them to adopt a habit of washing their hands, show them how to do it and how often.

Explain to them how the playground is full of dirt and how it can make them sick if they don’t follow certain precautions.

Teach your kids Hygiene Rules

Kids often forget so make sure you check in with your child each time. Here are some practices that you should let them observe when playing outdoors:

  • Wash hands before and after playing. Washing before going to the playground helps protect other children from germs your child may have carried after touching different surfaces.  Washing after playing ensures that the germs and bacteria he got from the playground are left behind.
  • Take wet wipes with you. If you are nearby, wipe your child’s hand using alcohol-free hand sanitizing wipes. Do this as often as possible, especially when they are transferring to another play area.
  • Aside from hand sanitizers, you may also ask your kids to apply nasal sanitizer to protect their nasal cavities. This is very useful to protect them from other kids who may have sniffles. If you don’t have nasal sanitizer on hand, you can rim a light coating of petroleum jelly on your child’s nostrils.
  • Let them wear masks. This isn’t just to avoid droplets from coughing or sneezing, but also helps prevent your child from touching his or her mouth while playing.

Remind Them Not To Touch Their Eyes, Nose, And Mouth

Germs and viruses enter the body most often through the eyes, nose, and mouth. That said, remind your children never to touch these sensitive parts of their faces.

Keep hair out of their faces by tying them up or letting them wear a cap. Stray hairs tickling their faces can cause your child to touch their face.

Let Your Sick Child Rest at Home

Keep your kids off the playground if they have flu, cold, or have a viral infection. Not only will it prevent the spread of illnesses, but it will also ensure that your child gets plenty of rest to recover faster.

At the same time, make sure your child is at least six feet away from people who are sneezing or coughing.

Bring Their Own Snacks and Drinks

Playing outdoors can make your child go hungry and thirsty. It’s best to pack their food so they don’t have to share with other kids and prevent viruses from spreading.

There are plenty of opportunities to enforce sharing on the playground. For instance, you can pack separate snacks for your child to give to their friends.

If preparing sandwiches, for example, place each snack in a separate zip lock container so you can conveniently hand them over to other children. Make sure your kids wash their hands properly with soap and water and sanitize before you allow them to have their snacks.

Lastly, don’t leave your trash behind. Bring a trash bag so your kids can dispose of food containers, plastics, and tissue properly.

Avoid Going to Crowded Playgrounds

Choose a less crowded playground, or allow your child to play in a less crowded spot. It’s best to use a playground during off-peak times so kids can still observe social distancing.

Additionally, choose a playground that is clean and well-maintained. Report problems to the park’s officials.

Don’t forget to dress your child for safe play. Just as you don’t want your kids to get sick, you also don’t want them to get injured. Let them wear breathable and light clothing, jogging pants, and shoes with traction.


By following these health tips when going to the playground, you can protect your children from acquiring germs, bacteria, and viruses that can cause them to get sick.

These are all generally common-sense tips on keeping your child safe at the playground, but a gentle reminder is always a good thing!


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