Think Twice Before Sending Your Kids to Play in the Sandbox


Think Twice Before Sending Your Kids to Play in the Sandbox

Kids love sandboxes, but so do animals, bacteria, and parasites. Not all sandboxes out there are dangerous, but you may want to at least check a sandbox before you let your child dive into its mysterious contents.

I certainly spent a fair amount of time battling ants in my backyard sandbox as a kid, but had I known what could be in there, I may have let the ants have it. Melinda Wenner Moyer at Slate investigated a number of studies that show how dirty dirt can really be:

…public health–testing organization NSF International sampled 26 different items in public places—toys at doctors’ offices, children’s library books, playground sandboxes—for a 2008 study on germs, they found that sandboxes were far and away the germiest of all, harboring nearly 2,000 times more bacteria, yeast, and mold per square inch than the door handles of public restrooms.

That’s pretty gross, but germs aren’t the end of the world for kids who are building up their immune systems. Unfortunately, there’s more:


…other microbial gifts that sandboxes sometimes leave for kids: parasitic worms. Like giant litter boxes, uncovered sandboxes invite animals—raccoons, dogs, cats—to use them as bathrooms, which essentially turns them into giant parasite Petri dishes.

These parasites can include the parasitic worm Ascaris, the cat-spread Toxoplasma gondii, the dangerous Toxocara, and the raccoon-spread Baylisascaris procyonis (in which one-third of cases are fatal). Before you shun sandboxes completely, however, it’s important to know that cases of dangerous parasitic infection are usually pretty rare. Furthermore, there are a few things you can do to help keep your kids safe on the playground. Cover your sandboxes at home when they’re not in use to keep animals out, keep your kids out of sandboxes that smell bad, and do your best to keep your kids’ hands clean and out of their mouth during and after play (hand sanitizer won’t kill parasitic worm eggs, so wash with soap and water). The whole article is well worth a read, so learn more about sandbox safety at the link below.…

Sandboxes Are Disgusting | Slate

Photo by Marie-Claire Camp.



Sending Money Internationally? Here Are 5 Digital Options To Consider

Sending Money Internationally? Here Are 5 Digital Options To Consider

Sending Money Internationally? Here Are 5 Digital Options To Consider


You or someone you love might be traveling. A college student might be taking classes abroad. You might have opted to live in another country for a year. Whatever the reason, you might find that you need to send money to somewhere else in the world. What are the best ways of doing that?

1. Use online bank transfers

If you and your loved one have accounts at the same bank, you may be able to transfer funds for free online. Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo permit customers to make transfers from their own checking or savings account to another customer’s account. Money is instantly available. To send funds through accounts, you’ll need to know the person’s account number and full name. Use a smartphone to conduct these transactions.

2. Take advantage of wiring sites

Western Union has an online money-sending options. It also will take the information by telephone and at agent locations anywhere in the world. It will allow you to send anywhere. Western Union charges a small fee for the service and has the money available within minutes. To send $ 100 to France from the United States, Western Union charges around $ 15 for an instant transfer and also offers a slightly cheaper $ 10 fee for funds transferred from a bank account.

Moneygram is another wiring site that transfers money for people. Funds are available as soon as 10 minutes in the different country with a more thrifty three-day option also available. To send $ 100 to France from the United States, MoneyGram charges a $ 14 fee. If you visit a Western Union location, you’ll be doing a cash to cash transaction. You hand over cash, which is converted to the currency of the destination country and picked up by the recipient, or in some countries delivered to him or her.

3. Activate online accounts

Create an online account with AlertPay or PayPal, and you can send money that will be available within a couple of days. Bank transfers to AlertPay accounts are free in the United States and Canada and take from three to six days to be processed. Transfers to PayPal customers also are free from the United States and Canada when a bank account or PayPal balance account is used for the transaction.

With Paypal, you can send money in more than 190 countries and regions where PayPal is available. Information is secure, and the company handles the currency conversions. All you need is your recipient’s email address or mobile phone number. You can use your smartphone to access these sites.

4. Buy prepaid Visa cards

It may not be the fastest way to send money overseas, but sending prepaid credit cards is definitely one of the cheapest. Both Visa and MasterCard prepaid gift cards you can load with funds and send straight overseas. Limits are placed on the cards, so choose the correct one if you plan to add a large sum to the balance.

Also choose a card that can be used internationally. Mailing these gift cards costs just a few dollars no matter where you live, but it’s important to look into insuring the package in case it gets lost in the mail.

5. Send money via Send Money Australia

This company offers ways of sending money for individuals and businesses. Send Money Australia offers better foreign exchange rates than large banks. If you’re buying or selling real estate in another country, you will be able to exchange your currency without hassle.

You can send money via your smart phone, online or over a landline phone. It specializes in doing cheaper and faster bank transfers because it is a foreign exchange company.

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