Children’s ball pits ‘so dirty a single ball can have thousands of germs’ linked to pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis

The dirtiest ball pit studied had an average of 170,818 bacteria per ball

CHILDREN’S ball pits are teeming with thousands of germs that are linked to pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis.

The dirtiest ball pit studied had an average of 170,818 bacteria per ball, while another had 712,000 microorganism cells.

A study of six different pits found over 31 different kinds of bacteria lurking in the children’s play areas.

Some pits went days or even weeks without cleaning.

The bacteria found in the ball pits can cause everything from bladder infections to infections of the heart lining, warned researchers from the University of North Georgia.

They found bugs including Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylocccus hominis, Streptococcus oralis, and Acinetobacter Iwofii.

These bugs can also cause sepsis meningitis, bloodstream infections, skin infections and pneumonia, collectively.

Oral strep can also cause respiratory distress syndrome in adults.

Researchers also found a yeast that can cause fungal infections in people with compromised immune systems.

Bacteria normally associated with plants, dirt, water and certain foods were also found.

These can cause blood and skin infections and eye infections in babies.

All of the germs are particularly dangerous in young children as a scrape or scab on the knee leaves them vulnerable to infections.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Infection Control, looked at ball pits in physical therapy centres in the US.

Ball pits are often used to help develop children’s motor and sensory skills but they’re also enjoyed in soft plays.