Thursday, May 10, 2012

Medical Waiting Room Play Areas - Dos and Don'ts

Calling all medical practices and hospitals! It's time to ban the box of one-armed Barbie dolls and sad looking teddies.

You know how important it is to create a safe, hygienic area for children in your practice waiting area. However you may not be aware that it is a requirement of the RACGP Standards for General Practice that your practice waiting area caters for the specific needs of children.*

You might also not be aware that the toys in your waiting area could be making children a tad more 'germy' than they already are. Back in 2004, we sent off a couple of toys from a medical waiting room to a lab for testing. The results were just a tiny bit scary with staphylococci and dangerous coliforms found on all toys, one of which was of a strain resistant to antibiotics. Eeeek! 
(If you're a details-person, you can read the full report here.)

So do you still have a box of wonky plastic blocks, dog-eared books and broken Buzz Lightyears in your practice but are not sure how to create a safe, hygienic play area for children?

Our company has helped hospitals such as Sydney Children’s, Westmead, RNSH, as well as over 300 medical practices around Australia to create safe, hygienic, tidy play areas so we’ve seen it all!

Below are some ideas you can implement in your practice to ensure that you’re not only providing a ‘best practice’ play area in your waiting room, but also conforming to accreditation standards.

  • Provide play equipment that conforms to Australian Standards
  • Ensure the play equipment is of durable, commercial quality so it doesn’t break within a week or two
  • Install play equipment that is self-contained & firmly fixed to avoid choking or tripping hazards
  • Bring in toys from home – they are not safe or durable
  • Provide toys that your reception staff need to constantly tidy – it’s an unproductive use of their time
  • Provide toys that can’t be cleaned easily and daily – too long between cleans is a cross-infection risk
And of course, you know where to go for Australia's best supply of waiting-room-friendly play equipment. Child Friendly Solutions of course! (as if you had to ask :))

* Criterion 5.1.1 Practice Facilities, Indicator H. RACGP Standards for General Practice 4th Edition, Oct 2010, pg 101.
Image courtesy of brittanaslove
Child Friendly Solutions has been assisting Australian retailers with in-store play solutions for 10 years including Big W, K-Mart, Westpac, Toyota and Forty Winks. You can find Child Friendly Solutions Play Panels, Play Tables and other play equipment, as well as lots of information on becoming a child friendly retailer, at