A pool of balls or maybe germs?
Playrooms are becoming more and more popular. They host birthday parties for the youngest, and on Sunday afternoons it is difficult to find at least a scrap of free space there. However, ball pools are home to pathogenic microorganisms, such as invasive pinworm eggs, which can survive for up to 20 days outside the human body.
See the movie: "What should a preschooler be equipped with?"
1. Innocent fun?
The balls look innocent. They are colorful and provide great entertainment for the youngest. However, there are many bacteria and viruses on their surface. Just being in such a cluster is conducive to illness and infections. You can come back from the playroom with Boston virus or bacterial dermatitis.
- I was once in the playroom with my daughter at the birthday of her friend from kindergarten - recalls Michalina, mother of 5-year-old Marysia. And she adds: - She had her best, I, in turn, drank coffee and watched the kids play. I omit the fact that half of them had their noses snotty so that it could be seen from a considerable distance. But something else scared me - one boy was playing with marbles, at one point he stopped and it was obvious from his face that something was wrong. There was a large stain on his pants when he came out. The little-year-old got wet. No one on staff reacted. And the boy's mother yelled at him and told him to keep playing in those wet pants. A moment later I left there.
There are many such stories. On internet forums, parents exchange their observations about these places. And some stories can be terrifying.
Children have an immature immune system, so they are easily infected. In large groups of people, they are exposed to attack by food and contact pathogens. It is also easy to get sick in nurseries and kindergartens, but in these places a little more care is taken for cleanliness. And how is it in playrooms? Do ball pools need to be cleaned regularly?
They certainly should, but this type of entertainment is not subject to the control of the State Sanitary Inspection. The owner of the premises is responsible for maintaining cleanliness and order, as well as how often he cleans and disinfects balls, ladders and pools.
- Checks take place after the notification of the intervention. At that time, the technical and sanitary condition of the rooms is also checked. Controlling persons rely on the owners' declarations and contracts with companies that clean the balls, says Małgorzata Kapłan, spokesman for the Provincial Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Szczecin, to WP Parenting.
However, there are premises where sanitary safety is of particular importance. - The frequency of washing the items that children play with is not determined by the norm or the act, but by responsibility - suggests Szymon Paprocki, director of the Family Park Family Play Center in Bydgoszcz in an interview with our website.
- From the beginning of our activity, we have an internal model in the field of sanitary safety management. It defines the rules of daily and periodic monitoring of cleanliness in the facility. Each of the devices (including mattresses, ladders, toys) is disinfected every day by trained personnel - says Szymon Paprocki.
We also asked the owner of the largest playroom for children in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship about cleaning the ball pool. While cleaning the mattress seems to be a relatively simple task, washing each ball is a job for the fairy-tale Cinderella. There are as many as 5000 BBs in one cubic meter.
- We have a special ball washing device that we imported from the United States. The machine washes each ball in a disinfecting liquid. We installed a lamp for filtering and disinfecting the air by the ball pool - he explains.
2. Rules for the use of playrooms
Playrooms were created to provide the youngest with entertainment at the highest level. And you certainly do not have to avoid such places, but you should remember some rules:
- healthy children should play in the playroom,
- after leaving the room, wash the child's hands thoroughly (you can also use a disinfecting liquid),
- while playing, the child should not eat or drink (there are special areas for this purpose),
- the child in the playroom should wear socks or home shoes (walking in shoes is prohibited),
- the parent should keep an eye on the child and respond to its needs.
Everything should be approached with common sense. When choosing a playroom for children, it is worth paying attention to the applicable technical and sanitary safety standards.