Fast-Food Playlands Are Covered In Filth – One Mom Sets Out To Prove It

We all know that McDonald‘s food is gross but turns out their PlayPlace indoor playgrounds are, too. This according to Erin Carr-Jordan, an Arizona mom who’s visiting and videotaping various playlands across the country them and swabbing them for microbial testing.

Carr-Jordan began her crusade last year after following her toddler through a McDonald’s playground and discovering shocking amounts of filth and food. She called the manager to complain and when she received no response, Carr-Jordan posted a video tour of the structure on YouTube. (The manger eventually apologized and the space was sanitized.)

Now the mom of four and developmental psychologist is on a family road trip and she tells the Tribune that she has seen similar conditions in restaurants, from McDonald’s to Burger King to Chuck E. Cheese, across the country (everything from broken pieces of equipment and sticky surfaces to trapped hair and morsels of food). She says she’s found alarming conditions in rich and poor neighborhoods alike.

Meanwhile, Carr-Jordan has been sending her swab samples to a lab and, according to the Tribune, they’ve so far found staphylococcus and other bacteria. Annissa Furr, a microbiology professor in Arizona, is working with her to collect and analyze the data to encourage legislators to act on the issue, according to the report.

While some of the fast-food chains regularly clean their playlands, many don’t have set protocols. (The Tribune asked companies whether they disinfect areas with steam cleaning or other methods, and none responded.)

I commend Carr-Jordan’s activism and agree that spaces geared towards children need clear guidelines in terms of healthy and safety. That said, I also believe that parents like Carr-Jordan have a choice not to take their kids to fast-food joints in the first place (this is all reminding me of the woman who sued Chuck E. Cheese earlier this year for promoting gambling in kids). Sure, it’s hard to find wintertime activities to do with the family – I personally loathe malls – but if you feel that strongly about the conditions of the these playlands then the obvious solution would be not to visit them.


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  • barbara

    I am even more appalled that my little ones are forced to sit on the filthy floor at school and the filthy ground, even when it has recently rained and the ground is wet. Microbes crawl into their bodies and shorten their lives. I am working on getting this rule changed. Why should a child have to sit on a filthy floor or rug when he has a chair?

    • David

      I pity your kids. Please don’t have any more

  • Janet K

    I am surprised at the callousness of your viewpoint. Of course, Carr-Jordan has the option to never take her child to a fast food play land, or a friends birthday party, but what she is doing does not appear to be a personal crusade for her own child. She has uncoveredd something that most mom’s have always suspected, that the play areas frequented by thousands of children a week are ripe with disease causing bacteria. The fact that she is calling attention to it is not reprehensible! How could anyone suggest someone be aware of the filthy conditions and keep that information to themselves while children are allowed to play in septic conditions?

    • David

      How many kids of gotten sick. Please home school your children.

    • boots

      For an advocate of home schooling, correct grammar would be a good start (‘kids have’).

      Secondly, homeschooled children also frequent fast food places, playlands & other indoor play equipment, so not sure how homeschooling would help, unless you mean total isolation schooling or advanced biology studies.

  • Erick

    I support this mother’s work and dedication however I do question her motivation. I feel as though if her motivation was truly to get these play areas cleaned, she would have first brought the findings to the franchise owners or to the corporate office. It seems as though her immediate goal was to hurt the business as much as possible and get herself in front of tv cameras.

    Good cause, horrible approach!

    • David

      I hope you don’t have kids.

  • t.samuels

    Here’s the solution to this nasty problem: Sign this petition to get this issue to congres!