Indoor Playground Sanitation

Your playground is like a magnet to kids eager for fun. And it gives parents hungry for relaxation a time to unwind.

Unfortunately, it is also a harbor for microorganisms, including those that contribute to food borne illness. On the playground, bacteria, fungi, and viruses pass from the kids hands to play equipment, to other hands, onto food and into mouths.

Competitive Exclusion:

During the cleaning procedure, a layer of beneficial bacteria is placed on the treated surface, and immediately occupies the surface with “good” bacteria. They consume all remaining food sources, leaving nothing behind for potential pathogenic invaders looking for space and food. The beneficial bacteria are much more active and out-compete all other organisms.

A study published by the University of Arizona suggests that almost half of all playground equipment is contaminated with potentially illness-inducing bacteria. While swinging on monkey bars, coasting down slides, and enjoying other recreational equipment, children are exposed to the urine, blood, saliva, sweat, and mucus of others who’ve used the equipment before them. These facts make playground equipment twice as big of a
biohazard as public restrooms. Whether at an educational institution, park, indoor or outdoor
play areas, parents and guardians should take precautions to protect children from contracting and transferring the germs and bacteria present on playground equipment.

With children acting as they do—eating, playing, eating and playing some more—ensuring that playground equipment is properly cleaned and sanitized or disinfected is a critical component in providing a safe and inviting experience for both the children and adults. Taking steps to encourage customer hand hygiene before and after playground use will also help keep children and parents healthy.

“Effective playground cleanliness requires cleaning, rinsing, and sanitizing or disinfecting equipment surfaces,” says Gina McDowell, Food Safety Technical Consultant at Ecolab.

Cleaning of the playground equipment removes the visible dirt and other residues from surfaces and reduces the total microorganism count.

Sanitizing helps reduce the count of a variety of potentially harmful microorganisms. Disinfecting provides an extra layer of protection by totally eliminating them, including hard-to-kill viruses. But with any sanitizing program, as soon as a surface is contacted by a germ or virus it has been compromised. That is why we apply an Antimicrobial surface treatment that will ensure that the surfaces, both porous and non-porous are protected against the introduction of germs and viruses.

Disinfectants have an unspecific biocidal action; killing both beneficial good bacteria and “bad” pathogenic micro-organisms. This destruction of the normal balance of bacteria results in a surface actually more conducive to rapid colonization (infections) in a very limited timeframe.

Many cleaning products and procedures being used to clean playground equipment use bleach as the main ingredient for their sanitizing steps. There are many dangers to using bleach on playground equipment that children climb all over.

Residue left over from chlorine bleach may cause:

  • Ingestion of bleach causes corrosive damage to the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract.

  • It increases asthma and allergy symptoms because of the likelihood of inhalation. It can also cause wheezing, bronchospasm and sometimes noncardiogenic pulmonary edema (a lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from entering the blood).

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