Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.2 Play Area/Playground Equipment

6.2.4 Specific Play Equipment Sandboxes

The facility should adhere to the following requirements for sand play areas:

  1. Sandboxes should be constructed to permit drainage;
  2. Sandboxes should be covered with a lid or other covering when they are not in use;
  3. Sandboxes should be kept free from cat and other animal excrement;
  4. Sandboxes should be regularly cleaned of foreign matter;
  5. Sandboxes should be located away from prevailing winds, if this is not possible, windbreaks using bushes, trees, or fences should be provided;
  6. Sand used in the box should be washed, free of organic, toxic, or harmful materials, and fine enough to be shaped easily;
  7. Sand should be replaced as often as necessary to keep the sand visibly clean and free of extraneous materials;
  8. Sand play areas should be distinct from landing areas for slides or other equipment;
  9. Sand play area covers should be adequately secured when they are lifted or moved to allow children to play in the sandbox.
Wet sand can be a breeding ground for insects and can promote mold and bacterial growth (2).

Uncovered sand is subject to contamination and transmission of disease from animal feces (such as toxoplasmosis from cat feces) and insects breeding in sandboxes (1). Replacement of sand may is required to keep it free of foreign material that could cause injury.

There is potential for used sand to contain toxic or harmful ingredients such as tremolite, an asbestos-like substance. Sand that is used as a building material or is harvested from a site containing toxic substances may contain potentially harmful substances. Sand can come from many sources. Caregivers/teachers should be sure they are using sand labeled as a safe play material or sand that is specifically prepared for sandbox use.

Sand already installed in play areas cannot be safely cleaned without leaving residues that could harm children.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Cleaning and Sanitizing Toys Integrated Pest Management Insect Breeding Hazard
  1. Villar, R. G., M. Connick, L. L. Barton, F. J. Meaney, M. F. Davis. 1998. Parent and pediatrician knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding pet-associated hazards. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 152:1035-37.
  2. Warren, N. 2007. How to build a sandbox. Articles Base.