As a child, I remember when our local McDonald’s installed the “Play Place”. It was another draw to the fast food restaurant, in addition to the cheap plastic toys in the Happy Meals.
As a mother, we avoid all fast food for health reasons; however, my children have played on McDonald’s play structures when being watched by grandparents. In fact, when I was in labor with my son, my daughter spent quite a bit of time playing on one while watched by her grandmother.
It’s not surprising that fast food restaurant play areas are full of germs, but what one mom found is downright disgusting and alarming: “A high probability of gonorrhea and meningitis”!
The New York Times reports:
Dr. Carr-Jordan, a child development professor and a mother of four from Chandler, Ariz., has visited dozens of restaurant playgrounds in 11 states in recent months to test them for cleanliness. What the inspections and lab analyses have revealed is the widespread presence of an array of pathogens, from coliform bacteria to staphylococcus, at levels that experts said indicated that restaurants might not be disinfecting their playlands as diligently as they should.
Dr. Carr started a non-profit called Kids Play Safe to work toward stricter standards.
What makes a fast food playground different than a public park? I doubt parks are sanitized either; however, I think the outside nature of sun and rain help to kill germs, as well as the lack of the consistent presence of food may help keep them cleaner. Many fast food playgrounds are inside to allow year round use. I also think city officials would respond much faster to complaints than a major corporation.