With public playgrounds closed or offering restricted hours, the safest place for children to have outdoor fun is in the security of their own backyard, right?

Yes, say health officials, but families should still adhere to some basic safety precautions.

How often do I need to clean equipment?

Since the coronavirus is most easily spread through direct, person-to-person contact, according to the CDC, and the virus can remain on surfaces for several hours, “targeted use of disinfectants can be done effectively, efficiently, and safely on outdoor hard surfaces and objects” such as metal and plastic hand rails and monkey bars” before and after use. Researchers have not found significant differences among metal, wood, and plastic surfaces for virus transmission.

This is most useful if you are hosting family and friends for a socially distanced birthday party. However, it is a good standard practice even if the only people using the equipment are in the same household.

Keeping pools clean

Proper levels of chlorine or bromine in swimming pools should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. And the CDC notes that “evidence suggests that COVID-19 cannot be spread to humans through most recreational water.”

Ensure safe and correct use and storage of disinfectants before and after use, out of reach of children.


Should children still socially distance on playground equipment?

Yes, particularly if they are not living in the same household.

The latest research confirms what is already known: that the coronavirus can be spread when an infected person expels respiratory droplets by coughing or sneezing. Further, many scientists believe that aerosolized virus can linger for hours in the air.

So if children are not wearing masks while playing, then keeping a distance of at least six feet is still advised.