One of your child’s favorite things to do might be to play on the swing set outside your house or visit your local playground. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, if your child enjoys playing on equipment like that, remember to take caution: Researchers say materials used to build play equipment can harbor SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Fatherlyreports that a team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Princeton University, and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) dropped small amounts of COVID-19 on different surfaces to see how long the disease would last on each. In their research (published on MedRxiv and yet to be peer-reviewed), they found that the disease “lasted longer on plastic than on any other material they tested — it took 16 hours for half of the COVID-19 to die, and the sample didn’t completely disappear from the surface for 2-3 days.”
This same study discovered that COVID-19 stays around as long on stainless steel as on plastic, which leads us to conclude that playground equipment, like swing sets, can stay contaminated for days.
SheKnows also cites a study by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Princeton, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UCLA which found that SARS-CoV-2 survives on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours. The virus has also been found detectable on cardboard for up to 24 hours and copper for up to four hours.
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This all means that, for the time being, parents will have to find ways to entertain their kids indoors. Under the enhanced community quarantine, the Philippine government mandates strict home confinement for all households (except for those buying necessities and some workers), ABS-CBN Newsreports, which means taking your child out of the house (unless you have a garden in your home) might not be the best idea right now.
But don’t worry, parents: There are multiple resources you can use to keep your tot occupied even if she can’t play on her favorite swing set or go to the park for now. For example, you can go on a virtual tour of world-famous museums, enjoy virtual Disney rides, and watch videos of animals in a zoo. You can also access a list of over 50 activities you can do at home here. If you’ve got the time and space, you can create an indoor play area for your tot, like what these parents did.