Assessment of microbial contamination of sandboxes and toys left in sand
Sand is one of children’s favourite playing objects, thus sandboxes can be found in almost every playground next to apartment buildings. However, sand is also an excellent medium for the proliferation of microorganisms due to its favourable organic matter content, relative humidity, and pH. Therefore, children playing in sandboxes where toys have been left behind are at risk of becoming infected with microorganisms that cause infectious diseases. The main infectious pathogens Esheriahia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp. and Enterococcus spp. were analysed in the sandboxes of children’s playgrounds set up in the yards of apartment buildings. The test material came from the surfaces of the toys left in the sand, the edges of the sandboxes, and sand samples collected in autumn and winter. Enterococcus spp., Salmonella spp. and E. coli were detected in the samples from the edges of sandboxes and surfaces of sand-covered toys and surfaces collected in autumn. S. aureus (on the surface of the toys left in sand) and E. coli were detected in the samples collected from the surfaces of toys and sandboxes in winter. During the study, no infectious agents were detected in the sand samples.