A Day In The Life Of A Toddler…All The Things I’ve Touched And Licked
Why indoor play gets it in the neck for every snuffle and sniffle…
Go on pretty much any review platform and look up pretty much any indoor play centre, and you’ll find a review that reads a bit like this:
“Great place, kids love it, but they picked up a bug from there – they could really do with improving their hygiene practices”.
At first glance, fair enough, right?
After all, we all want our businesses to be clean, hygienic places.
In fact, the world of play does more than most to make sure of that – most have stringent cleaning processes in place, which have only become more detailed since Covid-19 reared its ugly head.
But here’s the thing: you can have as many processes as you want, but nothing can account for the behaviour of the lesser-known mammal, known to us as the toddler.
Before most of us have even got out bed, the toddler has distributed his or her DNA in various different places.
They’ve risen from their slumber, and sneezed all over the kitchen.
They’ve made a right old mess with their breakfast, spitting Shreddies all over the floor, and smearing half-eaten porridge into a particular fetching piece of art on the wall.
Then, they’ve “brushed their teeth”, which is shorthand for getting as many saliva particles into the atmosphere as they possibly can (and spilling as much of that contaminated toothpaste down themselves as is physically possible).
Fresh off their morning activity, it’s on with the day, popping onto the bus and being sure to give the seat a good old lick, just to check how it tastes.
It’s September, and they’ve just headed back to nursery and run headlong into all sorts of germs from all sorts of places, so naturally their nose is running like Mo Farah.
And where does the snot go? All over the place of course.
And where does the toddler’s hand go? In their mouth. Obviously. Where else would it go?
But where does that hand go next? Surely they wash and hand sanitise it?
Well, no, not really – instead they smear it all over any surface that’s within reach, distributing some germs and then picking some more up which they deposit back into their system for good measure.
Nose still running by the way, just in case you were wondering.
It’s been a busy morning, so it’s off to the café for lunch, most of which gets chewed up and spat out, while the mashed potato doubles up as playdough.
Then, it’s time for the supermarket shop, so into the trolley they go, spreading what’s left of their lunch particles on the handle and seat.
Finally, having paid at the supermarket, and sneezed at the cashier, it’s time for some fun, and it’s off to the soft play, nose still streaming…
Here’s the truth, you can clean to your heart’s content, but you can never legislate for the bizarre and unpredictable behaviour of the Much Spotted Toddler.
All around the world, the standard of cleanliness at indoor play centres continues to be elevated, and we’re proud to be able to play our part in that process.
And yes, the more cleaning we do, the more we can minimise germs being spread.
All good soft play centres I’ve ever been to have regular cleaning schedules, both high level and full-system, which means that they’re some of the cleanest establishments I’ve ever been in.
But when the toddlers arrive, that’s when the trouble starts, and while interim cleaning schedules can and should operate during the day, it’s impossible to totally remove the risk of germs spreading, just like schools, nurseries, cafes, supermarkets and homes are unable to.
Can we eradicate toddlers spreading germs, even if we operate one-on-one staff policy, with each employee armed with D10 to spray down each kid every few seconds?
No. Just like any other public establishment, we’re all beholden to hygiene practices of erratic infants, who want to touch, lick and handle everything. Noses still streaming.
Blog Piece courtesy of The Play Company, Worldwide Play Area Equipment, Installation, Cleaning & Maintenance Company