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School play equipment a germ risk, say experts

By John von Radowitz

School play equipment poses a potential infection hazard for young children, a new study suggests.

Testing for germ "hot spots" at two typical schools revealed high levels of bacteria in unexpected places.

Play equipment had more bugs on its surfaces than did door handles, stationary items and chairs.

One "play" dinosaur registered a contamination reading 41 times higher than a toilet door.

Experts from pest controllers Rentokil swabbed 130 locations at infant and primary schools.

Luke Rutterford of Rentokil Specialist Hygiene said: "These findings may surprise many, as it is not necessarily the objects and areas they would associate with being unhygienic such as toilets, but instead items that are shared and used by multiple children which appear to be harbouring the most germs.

"Play equipment and shared items such as pens are used regularly throughout the day but rarely cleaned, providing lots of opportunity for cross-contamination."

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