Are parks and playgrounds safe?

We are several months into the pandemic now, and you might be tired of staying cooped up inside with your family. But is it safe to go to a park?

Parks are a low risk way to get out of your house

One thing we have learned is that being outdoors is much safer than being indoors. So a trip to a park is a low risk activity. Just be sure that the park isn’t overly crowded. You and your family or quarantine pod should be able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Remember to wash your hands, bring your own food, and mask up if you are around others.

What about playgrounds?

You are right to wonder whether a playground, with screaming kids sharing the slides and swings, is safe. Remember the important factors in considering safety: people, place, time, and space. More people are higher risk, while fewer people means less risk. The place is outside, which is lower risk. How long your visit is will affect your potential exposure time, so shorter visits are better if other people are around. Being able to keep enough space between you and others is lower risk. So the risk of playgrounds can vary. Use your judgment, consider wearing a mask, and be willing to go somewhere else if you are not comfortable with the number of people at the park. 

Keep your kids’ hands clean, but they probably won’t get COVID-19 from a slide

Washing your hands is always a good idea. But remember that COVID-19 is usually transmitted by droplets that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. While it’s possible you catch COVID-19 from touching surfaces, that’s not the main way it’s spread. Still, it never hurts to be cautious! So grab an extra bottle of hand sanitizer, and make sure your kids use it frequently.

Get outside and play!

Remember, doing things that make you feel normal are important for combating pandemic fatigue. So go outside and have fun!


Last update: November 20, 2020, 6:00 pm ET

Science review: ERS, JAB