McDonald playground...how groos are they?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 02-15-2003, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First off, I can't see how they are possibly safe. We were at one today, ds wasn't playing, we were eating and could see it. There are kids that are 1 or 2 and kids that 8 or 9 in there. They jump all over the place and knock people down. I don't see how a mother could put her little one in there. I would be scared to death Tracy would be broken by some clumsy kid. Now, I can understand letting him play in one if there was no one else and I could kinda get in with him (you know in one the the low places).

Second, what kind of masty germs are in there? These kids were all in there bare foot. I know you have to take off your shoes but they didn't even have on socks! Not to mention the snot and spit or even vomit in them! Bleck! The thought of it makes me queasy! I can remember going to Chuck-e-cheese as a kid and playing in the ball pit. But it was supervised and relatively clean inside.

It looked like there was a play group there when we were. The kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot screaming and throwing things. It was nuts!

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#2 of 48 Old 02-15-2003, 06:11 PM
 
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I haven't been to one before, at least not since I had kids. BUT I have had two friends tell me they knew kids who had peed in ball pits - eeew! I can only imagine how often this happens if two of my friends have volunteered this information in normal conversation. So I decided early on: no ball pits for my kids! Imagine how difficult it must be to clean all those balls; it must happen rarely, if ever.
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#3 of 48 Old 02-15-2003, 08:37 PM
 
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We don't do them either - we are rarely in a McD's so it's never been an issue for us. However, a friend of mine (who loves McD's) said that her son once came out of the ball pit carrying a poopy disposable dipe that he found in there. There was an article in our local paper a while back about the complete lack of hygiene in these places and reported that when a reporter was present when they emptied one of these ball pits, they found a huge list of nastiness - including a needle/syringe!

No thanks!
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#4 of 48 Old 02-15-2003, 11:03 PM
 
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That Playplace thing is foul. But kids don't care. Mine BEG to go there even though they know it means a thorough, hot scrub-down when we get home (whether it's bath night or not).

Our local playplace no longer has a ball pit. I think too many kids climbed on the outside of it and caused problems.

Children are required to remove their shoes and wear socks inside the equipment. Socks are available to purchase for $1 at the counter. If I see kids without socks in there, I tell an employee or point out the sign to their parents. If there are children running around your McDonalds without socks, a call to your local health department is in order.

I thought the needle/syringe thing was an urban myth. :
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#5 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 12:02 AM
 
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No ball pits for my children!

I heard a story (in New York) that a little girl was poked by a hypodermic needle in a Mc Donald's ball pit. The girl died because the needle still had heroin in it.

It may be just a rumor, but it's a chance I'm not willing to take.

I do let my daughter play at the PlayLand at the other McDonald's near us (no ball pit at this one, just tunnels and slides).
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#6 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 08:09 PM
 
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lol- needle story is one of many versions of an old urban legend!!

BUT, they can be gross, but what playground (especially indoors) isn't?

When DD was small we used to take her to the indoor one occasionally. While the adults complained about kids who are "too big" to be in there, I just went to the big kids, said "Hey, I have a little one in here nad you guys are too rough. Please stop now and/or get out, ok?" Never failed.

Finally, the place turned DD into an evil child so she has not been taken back for over a year...
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#7 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 08:13 PM
 
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3boysmom, eeewwwww! That is just nasty!

We go to one, but I HATE to, but ds likes it, and as a SAHM in desperate need of a playgroup (don't have one) and a ds in even greater desperate need of one, this is one of the only social outlets we have during the winter. But it's gross, and we always head to the bathroom to wash hands in hot, soapy water before going home.

DS is almost 4 and still won't even dream of going up in the tunnels without me, so it's mainly the toddler slide he plays on and the balls - gross, I know!
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#8 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 08:21 PM
 
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I think it varies, how clean the playlands are.

I have never taken dd to one, as we dont go to McDonalds to eat, but I know the babysitter occasionally takes the kids there to play when it is bitter cold and they need a field trip. The McDonalds they go to is much cleaner and nicer than the indoor playground in town according to the mamas I know who go to both places. So, I wouldnt jump in and knock McDonalds and call their playgrounds gross, cos I think it depends on the location. I wouldnt want ppl to base their opinions on an urban legend about a syringe in a ball pit, or to assume that people who take their kids to playlands are somehow not thinking straight, either. I have been to many a McDonalds in my lifetime, mainly the ones along major highways, and I've noticed that some of the restaraunts are are vile, and others not. That said, I wouldnt be suprised if some kid peed in a ball pit, at McDonalds. or anywhere else. If there are no parents supervising the kids, things can turn into a free for all, and I'd be very wary of letting my tiny girl play w.o. me right there under those circumstances.
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#9 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 08:33 PM
 
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We just got home from a FIVE week car travel vacation. Just my son and I. We drove from Seattle to San Deigo to Pheonix and back. I consider myself an Experienced "Play Place" Mom now.

It really really depends on where and when you go. Burger King has HUGE play places that are very very tall and the signs actually say "5-12 yrs old" on them. McDs varies with the older places looking pretty rough and the newer ones having three levels plus a toddler area. All have signs saying "3-12 yrs old, 48" max hieght" on them. All have no shoes require socks too. It really varies where the rules are followed.

Some of them ARE really clean!! In fact it seemed to me the more touristy the location the cleaner they were? : Only guess is greater turnaround so more frequent cleaning needed. And I too found that if you just get in the face of an out of control older kid and ask nicely for them to calm down 9 of 10 are really really good about it. In fact I cant think of how many times I saw the littler kids getting scared at the top or lost in the maze and a complete stranger kid going up to calm down and bring them back. Very nice kids are everywhere if you look!!

I actually like Mc Donald's better than Chuck E Cheese because at McDs the parents MUST be in the room [and therefore in ear/eye shot of their kids] where as this is not true at CECs. Also I have noticed in the last year that all of them have taken out the ball pits for what ever reason. In my 4 state 5 week travels I did not see one ball pit anywhere actually.
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#10 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 08:33 PM
 
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Ugh, I am cringing just reading this.

Ds and dd are no longer allowed to play in those Play Places. I loathed them from the start, but dh talked me into letting them play. So, I did. And, they loved them. They are a ton of fun, and the kids could always hold their own among the other 'ruffians'. Plus dh told me not to be a pansy mother, and let the kids be kids.

I put my foot down, finally, last summer. We were in a Chuckie Cheese, and when we came out, two hours later, ds, dd, and the two friends they'd gone their with had weird fevers for five days. The fever would flare up to around midnight, and last till 5 a.m. I was a raving lunatic from not sleeping since ds does not sleep when he is sick.

That ended the trips to the play places.

The ball pools are just foul. I could see the germs leaping from ball to ball. And the slides are so dangerous. Yuck. Everything about them is so icky. Stale air, dirty slides, sick kids, diseased ball pools.

Again, just thinking about it, I'm cringing.

And that hypodermic needle story--urban legend or not, I half believe it. Ewwwwww.
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#11 of 48 Old 02-16-2003, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wasn't meaning strictly McDonalds. I was generalizing I guess. I mean them all! I'm sure one day Tracy will play in one...but only when there are no other kids to knock himi down or even for him to knock down! Dh siad we'd take extra socks so they were only used for the play area.

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#12 of 48 Old 02-17-2003, 12:25 AM
 
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We never do the ones at McDsbecause they are so gross and dangerous. There is a place here which has a huge tunnle/ball pit/ soft palyetc. . . area. Thay have a seperate lay place for babies and toddlers and the tubes are mama sized so you can climbup to the top and rescue yor frightened toddler. They wioll even throw ina pair of knee pads for you. Thier ball pits get emptied and washed daily as well as every surface (it was usually wet when we got there and smelled of disenfectant) Better that than yuck. I was babysitting a girl once and went to McDs and the girl peed her pants. We ran for the door, didn't bother telling anyone (too embarrased) and I am sure that I am not the only one..

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#13 of 48 Old 02-17-2003, 12:46 AM
 
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We take Julia to Mcdonald's sometimes but she hasn't played in the playplace yet. She is turning 3 tomorrow so she has been too small. I know from personal experience that there can be vomit there because I used to work at Mcdonald's in the playplace. But I know, at least in my case, that the workers are taught to give the slide a good scrub down before the kids come every morning and after they leave at night.

Julia has been to Chuck E Cheese once but she was too little for the big slide so she went on the moving rides and a little toddler slide that she loved. We also take her to a Mr. Rogers play area and a merry go round.

Anyway, I probably will let her play in the play area someday if she wants to. I am a little worried but I agree about the washing hands thing. T One thing that annoys me about play areas is how parents think they don't have any responsibility there. I don't mean they need to follow their child around. But here's an example...my job at Mcdonald's was to clean, get food, help kids who got stuck at the top of the slide and stop kids from fighting. One mother actually told the manager that "The playplace girl isn't watching my kid well enough." Excuse me? Mcdonald's does not equal daycare center. I could go on but I'll shut up now.
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#14 of 48 Old 02-17-2003, 05:03 AM
 
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Quote:
"The playplace girl isn't watching my kid well enough." Excuse me? Mcdonald's does not equal daycare center. I could go on but I'll shut up now.

I feel for parents who live where it is cold and need some place indoors for thier kids to play in the winter time. I think what's needed are better options. Junk food and disgusting play equipment. Yuck.

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#15 of 48 Old 02-17-2003, 06:39 AM
 
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when my ds was 3 he went into the tunnels for the first time. When he went up there was only one other child in the tunnel then a group of bigger kids came and in a matter of minutes my 3 y/o was screaming and he was at the top. I had to climb up the tunnel, 9 months pregnant to rescue him! He was tramatized by whatever happened up there (still don't know)he would not get into the tunnel for another year.
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#16 of 48 Old 02-17-2003, 01:08 PM
 
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I won't go to McD's or Chuck E's. I avoid McD's as a matter of principle. We went to Chuck E's once, it was my worst nightmare. It was loud, everything flashed and every kid there (including my own) was on their worst behaviour. The food at Chuck E's is awful, and they only serve sugary softdrinks and cows milk.....

The county parks system where I live has two different, two-story indoor playgrounds. The one we go to has a small ball pit, tunnels, slides and themed rooms with huge building blocks, barrel "horses" with real saddles, a playstore, and other creative playthings. It costs $2/kid to play for the day. It's clean (they don't allow food or drink), the tunnels are big enough for a pregnant mom to crawl through, it's wheelchair accessible, and the kids are always nice enough. Plus the same facility has a free indoor nature exibit featuring a stream, a cave and the local wildlife rehabilitation program. Parking is $3. for the year.

Check out your local offerings, mamas. Maybe there is something better in your area. Many of the mamas around here play at Chuck E's just because they don't know there are alternatives.

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#17 of 48 Old 02-17-2003, 04:54 PM
 
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Interesting thread...I never have let either of my kids play at a playground in a restaurant (if you can call McD a restaurant : ). My son asked once when he was about 3 and I just told him restaurants are for eating not playing. My ds is now 4.5 and dd is 2.5 and neither asks or expects to play when we go to McD etc. and I like it just fine that way. However, we live in Oklahoma and even in the winter it is usually nice enough one day a week (at least) to go outside and play, either at the park or in our own backyard so I have never been faced with being cooped up all winter with no outlet for my kids.
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#18 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 12:31 PM
 
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Yuck! Most of the ones here are enclosed indoors and as soon as you open the door to go in you see the windows are all steamed up and the smell of all the old sweat is nasty! One time some kid got a bloody nose and there was blood all over one of the tunnel entrances. Yeah it got cleaned up but still just the thought of it. I feel nervous if there are older kids because I can't see what is going on in the tunnels and I am scared they might try to hurt my little guy. One time at Chuck E. Cheese the balls were all wet with something. Just say no to indoor plagrounds lol.
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#19 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 02:14 PM
 
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Yup, needles in the ball pit is an old urban legend, found all over the country. Here are some links debunking one version of it, which was circulating around the net a little while ago.
http://www.snopes.com/horrors/parental/archer.htm
http://www.tafkac.org/ulz/kevin.html

That said, I do think ball pits are nasty and germ-filled; my babe is not going to be playing in them...
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#20 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 04:44 PM
 
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I've heard of a toy store in our community that has a different kind of ball pit. Apparently there is some sort of ball washing machine that you can see, and the balls are continuously rotated through this machine. We haven't found the store yet, and we're not in a big rush to. But the woman telling me about it said that it's the only ball hit her son is allowed to play in.

We used to take our son to the indoor playground at the mall. Then we joined the Y. Now ds plays in the supervised nursery while we work out. We're SO glad to get away from the playground craziness!
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#21 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 05:41 PM
 
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omegamama,

Just was wondering why you quoted me and if was because of what I said. I wasn't trying to sound like I wasn't willing to help parents. I'm snowed in with Julia and I would love to escape and have someone help me watch her. Just wondering if you were quoting me cause you think what I said was mean or what the lady said was mean?:
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#22 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 05:53 PM
 
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i think she was quoting you because what you said was hilarious. i almost spit hot tea all over the computer!!

joe loves chuck e cheese & i'm not ashamed to admit it! (ok, maybe i'm a little ashamed!) if the play area, be it chuck or mcd's or bk, looks nasty, we don't go in. and i have had to go with him if there are big kids, the sound of loud stomping or yelling in the tunnels scares him. but otoh, i actually like to follow him around. many little 8 yo's have tried to push ME out of the way!

the chuck e cheese in altoona pa is very nice.
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#23 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 06:16 PM
 
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dr worm,

she was probably amazed, as i am, that *any* parent would have the gall to *complain* that the "playplace girl" wasn't watching her kid! what parental laziness is that?

my mil was at a playplace and found a 3 yo crying "mama" over and over. my mil gently picked him up--he cuddled right against her--wiped his tears and nose, and then went throughout the restaurant helping him find mama.

mama comes up about 10 minutes later a(just as mil was at counter asking for a phone to call cops) and says to the boy, in a nasty tone, "I told you to stay in the playplace while we were in the bathroom!" She was carrying a small baby.

She started to say more to the 3 yo and reached for him, but my mil held tight. MIL said, "How dare you leave a little boy alone here? He's been crying for 10 minutes for you! And how dare you chastise him? YOU are the parent, and he's the child."

The mom sputtered something about needing to change the baby and mil said, in a softer voice, "It's hard. i know. i had three under five years old at one time. but you *never* leave them alone like that. if i ever see him alone in here again, i'll call the police and dcs immediately."

mil handed over the boy reluctantly, and the mom left.

an employee came up to mil and said, "thank you for saying something. last week he was wandering in the parking lot before she finally came out of the bathroom."

i've been in playplaces where parents dump off the 10 and 8 yo and come back an hour later. luvky me, i get to run interference for my 4 yo...

mel
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#24 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 08:17 PM
 
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Dr. Worm, I was definately not thinking you were being mean! I can't believe someone would come there thinking they got babysitting for the price of a happy meal. Sorry for the confusion.

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#25 of 48 Old 02-18-2003, 10:26 PM
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its_our_family, How old is your child?
It seems to me that in no matter what you do, you will run into germs regardless of activity. Go walking threw the woods, swimming in a public pool. Just be careful not to be over protective and deprive your child of fun activities. For the most part, I’d assume the Play Place is just as safe much anything else. But use your own opinion on it. Mine is, it isn’t that big a deal, Though…if there were a lot of older children running around, pushing kids over- I’de wait it out till they were gone.
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#26 of 48 Old 02-19-2003, 02:50 AM
 
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Yes, I agree.

I saw ADULTS in one of those one day. I told them to get out and that it was dangerous. They ignored me and acted as though they did not know what I was saying.

I talked to the manager who acted as though he did not know what I was saying and told me he did not think there was a problem. He told me to mind my own business.

I also think even under the best of circumstances, these things may be dirty, since children w/ diapers and bare feet climb in there. ( and apparently adults, also) They are not cleaned on any regular basis.

Outdoor playground equipment is at least washed by sprinklers, rain, and sunlight. These are not.


They are an accident waiting to happen. Stay tuned.

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#27 of 48 Old 02-19-2003, 12:47 PM
 
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gurumama, yay for your mil! she handled the situation really well. i just hope that that #@$#%^ mother took it to heart.....

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#28 of 48 Old 02-19-2003, 05:19 PM
 
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Thanks omagamom and everyone else! That happened years ago and it still ticks me off. It made me quit Mcdonald's. I didn't say anything to the woman but I was very mad. I had no problem helping a child slide down when stuck or clean up spilled milkshakes, etc but I wasn't a babysitter! I was only about 17 or 18 then and I guess I already was learning ap! I went home and asked my mom if I was wrong or if the woman was. She agreed with me. And it is so dangerous for these little kids. I had to leave the playplace a lot to get food, take out trash, etc....someone could be kidnapped if a stupid mother left and thought I wouldn't! Sorry to vent again..sometimes people just kill me.
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#29 of 48 Old 02-19-2003, 05:36 PM
 
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I think they took the ball pits out because of all the complaints. I used to let my dd play in the McDs ones until we were there with a friend and her son. When he threw up in the ball pit from eating too fast, the attendant came and picked out the balls that were obviously soiled and LEFT THE REST! Didn't close the pit for cleaning....

Just my two cents....
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#30 of 48 Old 02-19-2003, 06:14 PM
 
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Once my dd was in a ball pit and she showed me a ball with dried feces on it! Gross!!!

We don't do McD's anymore since they have animal products in almost all their food, even the fries. We go to Burger King like once a month and their play area is much cleaner.

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