This summer you’ll probably be getting a new or pulling the old sandbox. But did you know there are serious health concerns regarding the source of the sand? Some sands contain chemical compounds that can cause similar health issues as asbestos. Read more about the health risks in this HealthyChildren.org’s article:
One idea to keep the sand somewhat sanitary (after all, this is being used outside and is bound to get yuckiness in it) is to add some salt, which may help keep bacteria and fungal growth down. I haven’t tried this out yet, but it sounds like a good idea. If the sand gets wet, let it dry out so bacteria doesn’t grow. Remember to always keep the sand covered so neighborhood cats and other animals don’t use it as a litter box and to keep as much debris out as possible.
On the subject of sandboxes themselves, be careful that they are clean, free of scratches and defects, and safe for your child. My fiance and I wanted to get our 7-month-old a sandbox this summer (is that too young?!?) but were shocked by the prices. $40 for a turtle sandbox I saw last summer for $20?!! We looked around on Craigslist, but people in our area wanted $20 for a beat-up, one-eye-missing turtle box from the 1990s. That wasn’t happening.
If you do manage to find a decently priced used sandbox, be careful to get one that isn’t all scratched up and teaming with bacteria that can live in those 5-year-old scratches. Sure, you’re using it outside where germs are everywhere, but why run the risk of your little one scratching himself on a scratched bit of plastic and getting an infection?
If the box looks really bad, try spray painting it. There are paints on the market that are generally safe to be used on toys and things that come in frequent contact with children. Just do a little research.
Have a great, sunny summer!