9 diseases your child can get from ball pits
Our kids love play places. Here's a reason why you should think twice before letting them go to an indoor playground in Manila.
Thinking about bringing your child in an indoor playground in Manila? Read this first!
As busy parents, we need to plan our trips to the malls. We often leave our kids in an indoor playground or a play place. They get to play; we get to do a quick errand. It's like hitting two birds with one stone, right?
Besides, our children love these play places. They get to play, run, and meet new friends. For smaller kids, the ball pit is the piece de resistance. Kids would go gaga swimming in these.
As a parent, the first thing that would come to mind is, how clean can that ball pit be?
Of course, there is a fair amount of germs inside ball pits. Kids wipe snot on their sleeves, sneeze without covering their noses, and cough without covering their mouths. Toddlers have diaper accidents, too.
But as parents, most of us believe too that children should be exposed to germs. Studies say that germs can actually make a child's immunity stronger.
For my son's seventh birthday, I inquired about renting a popular indoor playground in Manila. I asked how often the place gets a thorough cleaning. I wanted to hold the party a day after it gets cleaned, just to be safe.
The answer was shocking.
The guest coordinator told me that the ball pit only gets cleaned once a month. This is the only time the pit gets emptied and the balls cleaned.
As for the rest of the playground, the equipment and toys get a wipe down every day. The play place also gets "sprayed" and "sanitized."
But is this enough to kill all the bad bacteria that can potentially harm kids?
Researcher Mary Ellen Oesterle of the University of North Georgia examined balls found in different ball pits. She found eight different types of bacteria and one type of yeast.
Among these were enterococcus faecalis, staphylococcus hominis, streptococcus oralis, and acinetobacter lwofi. The diseases associated with these types of bacteria are:
- Endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart’s inner lining
- Septicemia, a serious bloodstream infection
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI),
- Meningitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome, fluid inside lungs
- Streptococcal shock or toxic shock syndrome, bacterial infection in the bloodstream
- Pneumonia, lung infection
- Skin infections
Although there is threat to the child's health when it comes to these play places, there are also ways parents can protect their children from theses diseases.
- Health check. If your child is showing signs that he or she is coming down with a sickness, help prevent the disease from spreading by not bringing your child to public places. Besides, if your child is sick, there's a higher chance of him or her catching a disease because of a weaker immune system.
- Appropriate clothes. Letting your child wear longsleeves, pants, and socks lessen the chances of direct contact with these deadly germs. Clothes should also be changed after playtime.
- Wash hands. Wash the child's hands before and after playtime.