Most moms avoid fast food places for more than just the junk they serve because there is a lot more under those golden arches than just chicken nuggets. Honestly, the play spaces tend to be downright disgusting. They’re sticky, filled with food particles, and who knows how or if they ever get cleaned.The ball pit is basically a breeding ground for just about anything.
When my daughter started school, she received quite a few invites to birthday parties at fast food places. We did go to a few for her close friends, but some of the parties we skipped. Mothers in our circles usually groaned when we found out another party was taking place at a fast food restaurant.
Child psychologist, Erin Carr-Jordan researched fast food joints and their play spaces in eleven different states, and what she found set her on a mission. She spoke about on The Early Show:
“We found dirt and grime and rotting food and hair in clumps and swear words all over the place. Graffiti. Equipment in disrepair that is broken. Second-story windows that are busted out. Slides that have large gashes in them. You name it — if it’s a thing you don’t want your child being exposed to, we found it inside these play lands. We found several strands of opportunistic pathogens, in other words, things that can cause infection or disease. We found stuff that causes meningitis, food-borne illness, skin, hair, eye infections … fecal contamination, coliforms, quite a few things can make children ill, and several of which are multi-drug resistant and potentially fatal.”
McDonald’s issued a statement saying they are taking the findings seriously but they have yet to disclose their cleaning policies, if they even have any for their play spaces.
Carr-Jordan is not giving up until fast food restaurants not only create and disclose cleaning and disinfecting policies, but also adhere to them. She created a Facebook page called Kids Play Safe to bring about awareness on the subject.
Do you let your kids play in fast food play spaces? Do you decline birthday party invitations to these fast food places?