Dirty Truth about Kids: Sand and bath toys

Bath and Sand Germs - Maureen Kyle

As your kids get outside and hit the playground, you might want to pack the hand sanitizer. This week, we are taking a closer look at some of the items kids touch the most and what kind of bacteria is lurking.

Kids have a knack for finding the dirtiest places to play, and when it comes to the playground, the sandbox is always the most popular.

Between dozens of tiny little hands sharing the toys and the fact that these toys literally sit in dirt, we figured the bacteria factor would be high.

We took one sand toy from a public park to CETEC labs in Cleveland, where they found 20 colonized units of staph on the surface.

If you think putting your kids into the bath to wash off that bacteria will help, think of this: CETEC labs tested the inside and outside of a rubber duck bath toy. They found 50 units of staph and 86 units of E. coli.

“Some surfaces have a tendency to have more staph on them than others and certain objects, but again there isn't a threshold above which we say, 'Oh, this is dangerous,'" according to Dr. Frank Esper with University Hospitals.

He said any amount of staph can get under the skin and cause an infection, especially with kids who are playing hard all day.

But our immune systems typically jump into action.

“It's kind of a little bit like combat warfare, and sometimes the staph wins but most of the time your immune system eradicates it before any really bad infection shows up.”

The best advice is to wash hands well and often. Also, Dr. Esper says don’t be afraid to use bleach in the bath. He says it’s similar to swimming in a chlorinated pool and will help kill the bacteria. 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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