Fast Food Playgrounds Are Riddled With Poop

It's safe to assume that the sometimes-sticky, graffiti-ridden, often-dirty play areas in places like McDonalds, Burger King, even Chuck E Cheese's are not germ-free. But how dirty are they, really? Very dirty. And filled with feces.

After following her son through a grime-filled play tube, it dawned on Erin Carr-Jordan: "It was so disgusting. There was filth everywhere." The concerned mother started complaining to the local restaurants, and when her concerns fell on deaf ears, she decided to start filming the insides of the play areas for proof. She swabbed areas and collected samples at nine different restaurants in seven different states, spending her own money to get the samples tested at labs. The results showed that 8 of the 9 locations sampled tested positive for fecal matter. [Ed: I suddenly resent my mother 100% less for never allowing me to get near a Playland..]

Don't worry, Erin's crusade is not to get rid of children's beloved play areas — she just wants to see them clean and regulated. She makes a good point: how can the government require restaurant kitchens and bathrooms to be cleaned by law, but not the gigant surfaces our kids play on?

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Here's an idea: don't give your business to restaurants that you would describe as, "It was so disgusting. There was filth everywhere." Tell them so, in writing, and cc your local paper.

Also: I'll bet tables everywhere are just as likely to test positive for fecal matter.

But getting back to the call for more formal rules:

" can the government require restaurant kitchens and bathrooms to be cleaned by law, but not the giant surfaces our kids play on?"

Common sense dictates that surfaces specifically designed for use by children will have a much higher concentration of contaminants as a result of: urine, feces and saliva. These are extremely difficult to control for. They're not bad or purposefully dirty, they're just kids. Logistically, play areas would require constant cleaning after a population that can't be managed by the restaurant (unlike employees who can be required to wash hands and not stick random objects in their mouths). Subsequently, I predict lots of industrial-strength disinfectants that then become the central concern in "Deadly Playgrounds 2: Won't Someone Think of the Children!: Is Nowhere Safe For Little Johnny and Susie?".

"she just wants to see them clean and regulated"

Well, parents, I'm looking at you for this one. You're the single best offense and defense. Better than bleach and ammonia combined. And I'm not talking about your purse-sized Purell (although it does have its uses). I'm talking supervision and proper hand-washing.

I'm not saying a restaurant has no responsibility, but it's not like they get a text alert the moment some kid drops a deuce in the ballpit. And it's rarely as obvious as that.