Kids stuck waiting for appointments at Halifax’s hospital for children will no longer be provided with toys and books.

The IWK Health Centre announced Thursday it’s removing all toys, books and magazines from patient waiting areas “to reduce the potential spread of H1N1 flu virus.”

Kim Allain, infection control practitioner for the hospital, said those items have already been removed from the emergency department, and are now being taken out of other waiting areas because of recent recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada.


“Toys, books and magazines are for communal use and aren’t necessarily cleaned between every patient,” Allain explained. “So, by us removing them, it somewhat interrupts the spread of infection.”

Families can still bring their own reading material and washable toys if they’re coming for a day appointment, she said, adding child life specialists are “putting together packages of crayons and colouring pages” that kids can use while they wait and take home with them when they’re done.

Children who stay overnight in the hospital won’t be affected, Allain said, since toys for inpatient play areas are cleaned regularly with disinfectant. She called toy removal from waiting rooms a “temporary measure” to address the swine flu pandemic.

Capital Health spokesman John Gillis confirmed Thursday hospitals in that jurisdiction, which includes HRM and west Hants County, are also removing magazines and other reading material from “public areas

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