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Here’s Why you Should Steer Clear of Sandboxes

Here’s Why you Should Steer Clear of Sandboxes
May 05
13:32 2016

Pretty much every place where groups of kids play is infested with germs. That’s why every good mom knows that hand sanitizer is their secret weapon.

But, it’s also important for children to be expose to germs to build up their immune system. There are some germs though that don’t belong anywhere near humans.

With that being said, there is a public play place that is much more harmful than most people know. Unfortunately, the play area is the sandbox, a beloved popular play attraction of the playground.

There are a few reasons for this.

Parasitic germs

Kids aren’t the only ones who love the sandbox, animals like raccoons and cats like to visit these sand piles. This is where they will do their “business” and bury it under the sand for your kid to find. And what do kids like to do? Eat everything! Parasitic germs live in the fecal-matter of these animals and they cause severe infections, such as Baylisascariasis (raccoon roundworm) toxoplasmosis and Toxocariasis. Yes, they sound as bad as they are.

Depending on where the larvae migrates in the body, Baylisascariasis can have detrimental effects, especially on the eye, brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, loss of muscle control and blindness.

Toxoxcariasis is transmitted through the feces of cats. The parasite known as oocysts in cat feces can be picked up and played with. The symptoms of this infection are often relevantly mild and are similar to the flu, but for pregnant women it has been linked to causing birth defects.

Toxocariasis is the most common parasitic worm infection in the US. This infection is caused by cat and dog roundworms. However, most of the infected don’t show symptoms. When they do show symptoms, they often include headaches, cough, abdominal pain, and behavioral and psychiatric problems.

“You don’t want parasites to be included with the germs that you interface with,” said Dr. Philip M. Tierno, Jr., professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU School of Medicine to CBS News. “It’s not any germ — come one, come all. You have to be selective.”

So if you are now terrified to allow your kid in a sandbox, we don’t blame you! But there are ways to keep a sandbox cleaner. If you have your own sandbox, make sure it is covered when it is not in use and that it is sealed at the bottom to prevent unwanted visitors. Also, go through the sand every week to make sure there isn’t something particularly germy that shouldn’t be there. As for public ones, find out if it is covered at night and how often it is cleaned before you allow your kid to dig in.

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Kerri Adams

Kerri Adams

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