Toys banned in hospital waiting rooms

Filed under: In The News

waiting roomWhenever I visit a doctor's office, I always walk out feeling dirty. Not dirt-dirty, but germy-dirty. I am acutely aware that everything I come in contact with has likely been in the hands of a sick person and therefore a potential health hazard. Not only am I worried about what I might catch, I am doubly concerned for my 8-year-old.

Ellie doesn't sit still and keep her hands to herself while waiting to see a doctor. She roams about and touches everything, especially those toys that have been set out for her enjoyment. But because she loves playing with the toys and because they keep her mind off whatever might be about to go down in the doctor's office, I let her play. That is what soap and water are for, right?

Our doctor's office has plenty of toys and books to entertain waiting children, but for some in the UK, those playthings have disappeared. In Manchester, a primary care trust, which is the organization responsible for managing local health services, has banned toys from waiting rooms for fear of spreading infections among children.

At least one doctor feels the move is unnecessary and refers to it as "bureaucracy gone mad." "Waiting rooms without toys must be a nightmare. If having toys means children don't mind coming to see the doctor, they are definitely a good thing," says Dr Kailash Chand, a Manchester GP. He goes on to point out that if the toys are kept clean, there is no health risk.

The trust is now rethinking the ban on toys and maybe soon they will be back. But it makes me wonder - do you let your kids play with the toys in waiting rooms? Or do you adopt a hands-off policy when visiting the doctor?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.