All of us travel through public spaces every day, and are well aware of the health hazards such places pose due to the number of people that come in contact with them. Naturally, we try to protect our children from these surfaces as much as possible in order to protect them from germs and illnesses. However, according to a study I recently came across, there are several surfaces that your child probably comes in contact with often, and is oblivious to the number of germs these surfaces are home to. I was, in fact, shocked to read about it and have become even more careful, and alert ever since!
- Staircase/ Escalator Railing: Most schools, almost all residential areas, metro stations and even malls, and theatres have staircases and escalators. Children often tend to hold or touch the railings of these staircases, and escalators while climbing up or down. But did you know, on average, the railing contains approximately 60,000 germs that your child is probably coming into direct contact with.
- Cafeteria: Like me, you too, might prevent your child from eating street food or junk from outside but children often find a way to either convince you or manage to go and pick up their favourite ice cream or junk food from their pocket money when you are not around. Not only is such food unhealthy for your kids, it may also not be very safe from a hygiene point of view. Hence, it is important to know that an average food stall/ cafeteria surface might contain near about 20,700,000 germs, which isn’t good for your child’s health.
- Bus Stop: Does your child wait at the bus stop every day for the school bus? Well, then you should know that he’s in close contact with nearly 3,400,000 germs. Add to that the pollution from buses and other vehicles on the road, loose dust particles, and other allergens in the environment.
- Swing in a public park: All children love to play on the swings, and before it’s five ‘o’ clock, hordes of children swarm to the park to play; but, did you know that in general a swing (slides, see-saws etc.) have about 90,000 germs on them. And nobody ever does wipe clean, let alone disinfect these surfaces.
Children will be children and you can’t stop them from going to such places altogether. What you can do however is ensure your child washes his/her hands often, and carries a hand sanitizer especially when clean water, and soap may not be nearby. Also, when your children return home from a place that is either very crowded or polluted, ensure that they not only wash their hands, but also bathe with an anti-bacterial soap to get rid of the germs along with the dirt and grime.