Playground Germs Part 2

Playground Germs Part 2
By: Wendy Ray

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --You take your children to the playground all the time, but do you ever think about all the germs they may be exposed to there? Thursday, we went out with a microbiologist to test some playground equipment and Monday we had the results.

Bacteria found on a park fountain handle looks pretty nasty when it's magnified, but don't get worried just yet. "The fountain handle is about the worst," microbiologist Jim Champine says. "You can see lots of bacteria and all different kinds, the bigger ones are probably from soil, some are from the skin, but none are really harmful."

Dr. Champine went out with us Thursday to test different things your kids come into contact with at the playground. The fountain handle may have lots of bacteria, but that's not the case with everything he tested. "Some of the things like the fountain and the swing are free of bacteria. The blue rail was clean. Some samples did get organisms, but very little are from the skin, so the ones we see are probably from the soil and dirt not disease causing organisms," he says.

Dr. Champine is not surprised by the results. "There's lots of sunlight and once in a while the stainless steel gets washed clean by the weather. You shouldn't expect to see bacteria living on that surface because there's not food for them, they would probably get deposited right there, die, or get washed away," Dr. Champine says.

In fact, Dr. Champine says the surfaces he tested are more germ free than our mouths and noses. Still, all mothers worry about germs and Lauren Wilson is no different. Just knowing there's some bacteria at the park concerns Lauren. "I'll think about it more when I bring her out to play in the park," Lauren says.

Dr. Champine adds the bacteria counts would probably be higher on inside playground equipment because there's no sunlight or rain to clean it off. Again, good hygiene is key and if your child gets a cut or scrape while playing on equipment be sure to clean it out.