Flood waters can carry dangerous chemicals or materials (e.g. broken glass and metal) and may contain bacteria that can cause illness. Outdoor play equipment and loose materials that come in contact with flood waters can harbor these organisms, even after flood waters recede, making them unsafe. Below are some simple guidelines to help protect children at play following a flood:
- Ensure that flood waters have receded.
- Do not allow children to play in areas that were or might have come in contact with flood waters.
- Disinfect playground areas before permitting children to use them (dispose of all wastewater from cleaning into your household drain; do not put in an outside sewer.)
- Inspect equipment to ensure that it isn’t damaged; do not use damaged equipment.
- Remove and replace organic materials like woodchips.
- Remove and replace, or disinfect, sand and silt.
- Encourage children to wash their hands thoroughly after playing on equipment.
- Remove all debris from within the play area.
- Sunlight reduces the concentration of bacteria in sediment; therefore, spread out as much of the remaining sediment as possible to dry.