Decontamination of Play Equipment and Toys

Publication: 09/09/2020  
Next review: 07/12/2024  
Standard Operating Procedure
ID: 6627 
Supported by: Leeds Children's Hospital Governance
Approved By: Infection Prevention and Control Committee 
Copyright© Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 2021  


This Standard Operating Procedure is intended for use by healthcare professionals within Leeds unless otherwise stated.
For healthcare professionals in other trusts, please ensure that you consult relevant local and national guidance.

SOP: Decontamination of Play Equipment and Toys

This SOP describes the actions required to ensure safe management and decontamination of all play resources including toys and play areas. Play resources are viewed as an important aspect of care for hospitalised children. Play resources can become contaminated with potential pathogens and are a potential source of infection within the healthcare environment.


  • To standardize and optimize the play materials offered and used by children who require source isolation.
  • To minimize the potential for cross contamination and infection.
  • To provide a clean and safe environment in all departments, by ensuring that all toys are suitably cleaned on a consistent basis and safety checks are completed. All toys and resources should be in good condition and appropriate for use.

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Background and indications for standard operating procedure/protocol

It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that all toys, play equipment and materials are decontaminated in accordance with both:
manufactures guidelines
infection prevention and control guidelines

Play Service Managers/ Play Specialists/Play Staff are responsible for:

  • Ensuring no new toys are introduced into their department without checking they can be cleaned adequately
  • Ensuring records of all cleaning activity are maintained.

All Staff

  • The responsibility for the cleanliness of toys lies with the play staff and department staff within the ward/department area.

Play areas, resources and toys can harbour pathogens which are potential source of Healthcare Associated Infection (HCAI). Broken toys and play equipment are a potential hazard to children, so all damaged or broken resources or toys should be disposed of correctly in accordance with the Trust Decontamination Policy (PC036).
Patients require access to play equipment and toys during their hospital stay, however due to the potential for cross infection 'source isolated' patients are unable to leave their room to access the onward play area, so require the play resources or toys to be taken into their room.
This SOP is intended to allow all children to have access to the play equipment and toys regardless of isolation status.

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Procedure method (step by step)

All staff should be aware of the infection status of all children using play areas, resources and toys.
All staff should be aware of the different protocols in regards to cleaning and decontaminating play equipment, materials and toys.

All play equipment and toys

  • ​​Play rooms/areas should be cleaned and safety checked daily and relevant paperwork completed, this evidence should be kept in each department and retained for 6 months.
  • Toys should be checked regularly for overall condition, cleanliness and safety. Any visibly dirty toy should be cleaned and if damaged, condemned immediately.
  • Plastic and non-porous toys should be cleaned with a chlor-clean wipe after use. If contaminated with body fluids or used for a child in isolation, they must be disinfected using a chlorine-based product solution such as chlor-clean.
  • Toys that are waiting cleaning should be stored in a box labelled as ‘dirty toys’ and kept in an area that children cannot access.
  • Any toys that have been used during a clinic session or during the day will be placed in the appropriate box and cleaned at the end of each clinic or morning session.
  • All toys that have been used, or in contact with a child with diarrhoea, vomiting, bodily fluid, or other identified infection should be cleaned directly after use with a chlorine-based product such as chlor-clean.
  • Any toys that have been used by an in-patient who is known to have had a positive result for Carbapenamase Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)should either be taken home by the patient or disposed of correctly.
  • Items such as televisions, DVD players, or similar for all patients that are CPE positive are to remain in the room and decontaminated as per the cleaning process then to be followed by hydrogen peroxide vapour fogging.
  • Electronic devices (e.g. computer consoles) should be wiped down with chlor-clean wipes between each child/YP.
  • After cleaning toys with Chlor-clean rinse the toy if there is a possibility the child will put the toy in their mouth​ (e.g baby toys).
  • All toys must be stored clean and dry when not in use.
  • Staff must wear aprons and gloves whilst decontaminating toys and wash their hands following the Trusts Hand Hygiene Policy after decontaminating used toys.

Play resources and toys


Bath toys

Store after cleaning and drying. Individual use only, not to be shared between patients, or be of the nature that holds any water.


Damp dust daily​. Latex free balloons only.

Cot mobiles​

Should not be used if they cannot be decontaminated. No material/fabric content unless patients own mobile.

Cloth and material toys/ dressing up clothes/ puppets​

Single patient individual use only​, these can be given to patient to keep / take home or disposed of appropriately.

Distraction boxes​

Equipment to be cleaned after each individual use/ child contact.

​Electrical games, computer consoles, televisions

Unplug prior to decontamination, clean using a chlor-clean wipe as per trust decontamination policy.

Multi-sensory toys/equipment

Bubble tubes should be decontaminated according to manufactures instructions. When possible use Hurricane air tubes to replace bubble tubes.
Those multi-sensory toys which are difficult to decontaminate are not to be used with patients in source isolation.

​Play dough and others such as
shave foam
Corn flour (homemade)

Single patient use.
Ensure skin lesions are covered.
Prepare and discard on day of use.
Check patient allergy and dietary restrictions before use.

​Play dough/plasticine (shop bought)

​Single patient use, if appropriate can be stored in patient’s room for use throughout their admission.
Ensure skin lesions are covered.
Discard after use.

​Paper books

​Single use where possible and no large book shelf’s on display in any play areas/ YP areas.
If given to source isolation patients they can be kept by patient or disposed of after use.

​Plastic Toys

​Follow cleaning guidelines above using chlor clean solution

​Preparation tools

​Equipment to be cleaned after each individual use, this includes washing of benny bear at a high temp.

​Soft Toys

​May bring own toy to hospital.
Labelled with patient name.
Taken home with the patient or discarded.

​Toy Boxes ​

​Should be emptied and cleaned out with chlorclean and fully dried in between patient use.

​Wooden Toys

​Follow cleaning guidelines above
Toys should have an impermeable surface, such as a varnish, if not varnished and porous should not be used.

Donations - Prior to accepting donations they should be checked for safety and assessed for ease of cleaning. Toys that are difficult to clean should not be accepted or used.
Brand new soft toys can be accepted and must only be used by one child who should be given the toy to take home on discharge.

Donated toys that are not new must be cleaned prior to first use in hospital.

Children’s Own Toys- Children are permitted to bring in toys from home but this should remain with the child and not be shared with other children. The Trust will not clean a child’s own toy as this is the responsibility of the parent, care giver or guardian.


Record: 6627
Clinical condition:
Target patient group: Children
Target professional group(s): Allied Health Professionals
Secondary Care Nurses
Adapted from:

Evidence base


Ailleo A, Larson E, Sedlek R, (2008) Personal Health Bringing good hygiene home. Americian Journal of Infection Control. 36:S152-165
Prosfay-Barbe KM, Zerr D, Pittet D (2008) Infection Control in Paediatrics Lancet Infect Dis 2008; 8: 19-31
Siegel J, Rhinerhart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L (2007) 2007 guideline for isolation precautions: Preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings. American Journal of infection Control. Vol 35 (10) supp 2

Evidence Base

LTHT IPC Isolation guidelines,
LTHT Trust Decontamination Policy

Approved By

Infection Prevention and Control Committee

Document history

LHP version 1.0

Related information

Not supplied

Equity and Diversity

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is committed to ensuring that the way that we provide services and the way we recruit and treat staff reflects individual needs, promotes equality and does not discriminate unfairly against any particular individual or group.