The Real.Est List
Dear Ms. Demeanor: Sick kids don't belong in the building playroom!
Dear Ms. Demeanor,
We live in a large cond-op with many families and a lovely, well-maintained playroom.
The problem is that some mothers and babysitters seem to think it is appropriate to bring obviously sick children to the playroom.
There does not seem to be anyone else but me concerned about this issue. I have mentioned it to other friends in the building and they just shrug. During cold season, I am starting to avoid the playroom altogether. It is an amenity I would like to enjoy without the fear of pink eye or swine flu every time we play there.
Not-so-Playful in the Playroom
With lovely children come their not-so-lovely germs, and playrooms, schools, etc., are simply crawling with them. It may be cold comfort (no pun intended) but kids who grow up in messier and less sterile houses seem to have less allergies and eczema.
If playroom cleanliness is a priority for you, you should take it upon yourself to ensure that the toys are cleaned frequently, appropriately, and safely.
This may mean setting up a roster of parents or caregivers willing to pitch in and lend a hand as it may be beyond the scope of the building's cleaning staff.
Having standardized and agreed upon rules similar to those in a school - no children with fevers, children with bacterial infections must be on antibiotics for a full 24 hours, no pink eye, wait a full 48-hours after resolution of a gastrointestinal infection, etc. - is a wise idea and I am surprised that more coop and condo boards do not mandate such rules.
It will not be perfect, but it is an excellent start. Think of it as a public health project for your small part of the vertical village. Even your blasé neighbors may thank you in the end.
Yours in health and cleanliness,
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to email@example.com.