We’ve all heard that those plastic ball pits at Chuck E. Cheese and other venues are breeding grounds for disease. But now an Arizona mother of four has gone on a multi-state swabbing campaign at various fast-food-restaurant play spaces just to prove a point about the health hazards lurking in these places. This all began at a McDonald’s in Tucson, where Erin Carr-Jordan stopped in with her kids for a bathroom break. When her son begged to go down the slide in their Playland, she obliged, but noticed immediately that “It was covered in filth, and grime, and old food.” (Guess they haven’t upped their maintenance budget, even with all that cash.)
She made multiple complaints to some indifferent managers, and ultimately, with the help of an immunologist friend — Carr-Jordan herself is a professor of developmental psychology — she got the place swabbed and had the samples tested at her friend’s lab, only to find copious amounts of staph and coliforms, and possibly meningitis. But it doesn’t stop there, and this woman doesn’t mess around!
She then went on a road trip and swabbed multiple play spaces owned by various corporations besides McDonald’s, and they were all pretty dirty. She reported her results to the Centers for Disease Control, and got her story picked up by multiple news outlets around the country. She has now set up a Facebook page for her burgeoning cause, Kids Play Safe.
Below, she describes her experience with the first McDonald’s, and shares some close-up, camera-phone video footage of the grime in question.