Your tots love playing in the sandbox, but cats, raccoons and other varmint see it as a giant litter box when the lid’s off. You may not be able to see their droppings with the naked eye, but E. coli, which is passed on through feces, is one of several germs lurking there that can cause serious illness -- like severe diarrhea and potentially life-threatening infections.
What to do: Be sure to select a sandbox with a tight-fitting lid and keep it shut when it’s not in use. To be on the safe side, keep young babies out. “Infants are much more vulnerable than toddlers, because their immune systems are under-developed,” says Susan Coffin, M.D., Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control Department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.