Playgrounds have always been an important escape for kids, but this couldn’t be more true during a pandemic. Many kids across the country are still at home e-learning, which means they’re spending more time cooped up indoors and less time with their peers.
One of the only outlets parents have access to is their community playgrounds. Neighborhood parks give kids a chance to run, jump and climb while meeting others their age. But is it safe to visit a playground during COVID-19? And if so, what precautions should you take?
Community Playgrounds are Some of the Safest Places to Play!
Fortunately, outdoor activities are generally considered safer than indoor ones. Plus, the CDC does not believe that surface transmission is the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person from respiratory droplets in the air.
Additionally, more than 60,000 papers published related to COVID-19 did not identify playgrounds as being a significant source of transmission. In fact, spending time outdoors is important for your child’s mental health (and yours!). Nevertheless, it’s still important to practice safety at the playground to protect your child from the virus.
Tips for Visiting a Playground During COVID-19
When visiting parks and playgrounds, COVID-19 precautions should remain a priority. Here are the safety tips we recommend following to keep your family safe.
Wear a mask. A mask should be worn whenever you’re within 6 feet of another person. Even if the park isn’t crowded, have your child get used to wearing a mask. This way, there’s no need to interrupt their play if more kids arrive.
Social distance. Practicing social distancing is one of the best things you can do. It’s important for kids to play but it’s best to stay within the family unit. Unfortunately, you just don’t know where others have been.
Scope out the park. Before getting out of the car, drive past the park to see how crowded it is. If there are a lot of people, it’s probably best to choose a different park. Also, if the playground ends up getting crowded, be prepared to leave if you don’t feel comfortable.
Wash hands. Have your child wash or sanitize their hands before and after leaving the park. It’s probably not necessary to wipe down outdoor playground equipment, though you may want to sanitize high-touch surfaces like swings and picnic tables.
Outdoor Time is Essential. Start Healthy Habits Today.
COVID-19 is a major concern, but so is the mental health of our children. It’s a tough spot to be in for parents. Many children are affected by isolation because they’re not in school or seeing their friends. They can benefit from outdoor playground equipment, but you’ll need to balance this with what’s best for their health.
The good news is that kids are adaptable, so practicing these healthy habits early on will make playing at the park in COVID times a seamless transition. In the end, as long as you follow the above precautions, parks and playgrounds are some of the safest places to be!