All about sandbox covers

Children aren’t the only ones who love the sand…so do insects and animals. Once installed, a sandbox should be maintained; it should be raked regularly to remove leaves, debris, clumps, or other foreign material. Sand boxes should also be covered when they aren’t in use. If the play sand gets wet, it should be thoroughly dry before you cover it. Use a cover made of permeable woven material rather than a rigid cover or plastic tarp, both of which encourage the growth of bacteria and mold.

Another very important reason for covering your sandbox is to avoid infection from the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Your neighbor’s, and wild felines regard your backyard sandbox as a litter box. Cat feces often contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled protozoan that lives and reproduces only in cats who hunt or who are fed raw meat. Children, who explore by touching and tasting everything around them, including sand, may ingest the parasite by eating clumps of sand or simply touching their mouths while playing with sand that has come in contact with infected cat feces. Covering your sandbox will help to prevent infection. When a child becomes infected with T. gondii, the parasite forms cysts that can affect almost any part of the body including the brain and the heart and cause serious complications. T. gondii can cause serious complications for children whose immune systems are undeveloped. Symptoms of toxoplasmosis can include muscle pain, blurred vision, fever and headache which can last for weeks though, fortunately, all can be treated with medication.

By code, you have to cover your sand box. Sand box covers come in many shapes and types. Ultimately, the one you want is the one that will work for you. Here are a few tips to help you select a good sand box cover:

  • Pick a sand box cover that is easy to put on and off. Some covers have lots of fasteners which means it take a lot of time to install—ultimately, that might discourage its use.
  • Pick a sandbox cover with a mesh top so water doesn’t accumulate, making the cover heavier and harder to remove.
  • A weighted sand box cover stays in place on windy days.
  • Avoid cheap tarps. They never work.
You can order a custom-made weighted sandbox cover or you make one yourself using nylon thread, sufficient yardage of woven plastic fabric, a large embroidery needle, and four lengths of heavy chain (the chain is used to weight the edges of the cover). A fabric sandbox cover like this is easy to install and store and will provide you and your children with clean, safe, and happy sandbox playtime!