By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Does your child just love to romp around in a pool of colorful balls? A new study finds that ball pits can be riddled with germs.

Researchers at the University of North Georgia looked at six ball pits used for physical therapy in kids and found they contained 31 species of bacteria and one species of yeast, several of which can cause serious infections in humans like skin, blood, or urinary tract infections,

They did not look at those popular public ball pits found at some restaurants and indoor playgrounds, but they assume that these, too, are probably breeding grounds for germs.

The greatest risk is to kids with weakened immune systems. Most healthy kids are not going to get seriously ill from playing in a ball pit, and it may help build their immune system.

But experts say ball pits should be cleaned regularly. In fact, they found that the physical therapy clinics they studied sometimes didn’t clean their ball pits for days or even weeks.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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