Department or Program

Environmental Studies


When visiting a pediatrician or family practice physician, children often handle toys provided in the waiting room area. Toys have been identified as fomites for the transmission of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Two bacteria that are frequently associated with pediatric healthcare-acquired infection are fecal coliforms and Staphylococcus aureus. Enteric bacteria, particularly Escheria coli, are commonly used as an indicator of fecal contamination and the presence of potential pathogens. Furthermore, methicillin sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are common pathogens that cause skin infection and can also lead to bloodstream and lung infections. This study attempted to identify S. aureus and enteric bacteria in samples taken from childrens’ toys at two Maine pediatric clinics. Nearly all (98%) of toys were colonized by bacteria and 33% carried potential pathogens. Staphylococci were isolated from 49% of samples. S. aureus and MRSA were isolated from 14% and 5% of samples respectively. Enteric bacteria were present on 23% of toys, but all were non-E. coli. Presumed enteric isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter agglomerans were found on 5% and 2% of toys respectively. The presence of MSSA, MRSA, and enteric species on waiting room toys supports previous findings and indicates the need to examine cleaning protocols. Changes were suggested based on infection control guidelines from the American Association of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatrics Association.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Karen Palin

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.