Remember playing in the ball pit when you would go to McDonald's or Burger King back when you were a kid? We do, it was a lot of fun, and half the reason you wanted to go to one of the fast food chain restaurants.
As kids we never really processed what we were doing outside of enjoying ourselves, but looking back now as an adult, my skin crawls thinking about what I was actually playing in. After reading this, we wonder if people will ever consider letting their kids in there again.
It turns out that public ball pits are actually cesspools of nastiness. Here are seven reasons why ball pits are actually giant health hazards as opposed to places for children to have innocent fun.
1. What is actually in there under all those balls?
The ball pits might look like brightly colored fun pits, but the reality is you have no idea what could be hiding underneath that cascade of plastic balls. Have you ever wondered what happened to the band-aid that was on your child's arm before they went in, but wasn't there when they came out? In all likelihood it is now part of the ball pit itself. There is one story of a child finding a pair of rusty scissors inside a McDonald's ball pit.
2. Teenagers will literally do "it" anywhere.
It's true, teenagers can be sex-crazed, taking any opportunity to get their jolly's off anywhere they can when the mood strikes them. A startling number of fast food employees have come forward with stories of finding teenagers using the ball pit as their own sex pits. It's a great way for children to share in STIs from an early age.
3. Fast food might take longer to rot, but it still rots.
Following the thread of having no idea what you will find if you were to empty all the balls from a particular pit, it is a safe bet that you will find ancient food hanging around in there. In places like McDonald's and Burger King, finding things like old chicken nuggets and half-eaten burgers is not uncommon at all.
4. Public pools aren't the only place that children are known to have accidents.
When your child has a bathroom accident in public, it isn't likely that parents will actually report it, especially if it would cause them major embarrassment. Imagine how many children have accidentally (or intentionally) voided their bladders or bowels in these ball pits. Urine, feces and vomit are not uncommon things to find when the balls are finally emptied from the pit.
5. Would you play with a public toilet seat?
It turns out that a ball pit at a local fast food joint can actually be dirtier than a public toilet seat. Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan, a professor at Arizona State went to a local McDonald's with her tools to see just what germs and bacteria were lurking in these colorful playgrounds. She found germs that are known to cause meningitis, food born illnesses, skin and eye infections, some of which were actually quite dangerous and resistant to a lot of antibiotics.
6. Homeless hangout.
This isn't meant to bash homeless people, who will often find any place they can to stay warm and dry, but a number of employees from McDonald's and Burger King have reported finding homeless people sleeping in, or around their ball pits. This is an issue of both sanitation and safety concerning children.
7. Sanitizing the balls isn't done often or properly.
How do they clean all of those plastic germ carriers? Well it turns out there is no single method that is followed across the board. One Chuck E. Cheese employee stated that his boss would load the balls up into mess bags and put them in the back of his pick-up truck before taking them through a car wash. The employee also noted that this didn't happen very often.
Are you still going to let your kids play in these places next time you head off for some fast food?