With lockdown easing, playgrounds in England are set to reopen again from 4 July.
It's a big deal for anyone with younger children -- how many times have we walked past those padlocked gates to pleading howls? However, we still need to be careful.
Even if the play equipment is cleaned regularly, it is impossible to fully eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in such spaces. What can we do to minimise the risk of coronavirus and stay healthy, besides social distancing? The following information will help parents guide their children to use outdoor playgrounds safely.
Before Entering Playgrounds
Check current government advice on coronavirus before leaving the house. Guidelines can change nationally or locally in response to outbreaks.
Check that the playground has been officially reopened. Make sure that any padlocks, tape or other barriers to entry have been fully removed. Don't attempt to go into the playground if it looks like it's been forced open, rather than officially opened.
Hygiene is of upmost importance when using metallic or plastic surfaces. Clean your hands, and your children's hands, with alcohol-based gel.
Remind children not to put their hands in their mouth, and try to avoid touching their faces.
Outdoor playgrounds are likely to be very busy in the first week or so after they reopen. If you see so many people that social distancing would be impossible, come back another time, or try somewhere else... no matter how much the children might sulk. (It's a good idea to let them know that this might happen before you leave the house.)
When Using Playgrounds
Playground equipment may not have been used for some time. Check that everything looks safe before letting your children have their fun. Report any hazards to the council (most playgrounds have a phone number clearly displayed).
Don't adjust any play equipment yourself. If, for example, swings have been rolled up, or roundabouts fixed in place with tape, do not try to release them yourself. The playground has not officially reopened.
Stick to social distancing guidelines (in England, that's at least 1 metre apart, from 4 July), and encourage your kids to do the same.
Try not to touch the play equipment yourself. Evidence suggests that children do not pass on coronavirus as readily as adults and do not suffer from the virus to the same extent. However, parents can easily pick up coronavirus from infected surfaces or by getting too close to infected people.
Consider wearing a face mask if you are able. You can also explore the possibility with your children.
Use hygiene gel after using play equipment, and also throughout play, if you're going to be there for a while.
Get out and have a great time!
The guidance in this article is based on information from the government and the Register of Play Inspectors International.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.