Kid slides through poop at McDonald’s play area

About once a month we take our kids to a local fast food place that my friend owns and let them run wild in the play area. They go in and out and part of my struggle as a parent is getting them to go wash their hands before they dive into their lunch.

A while ago I asked my friend about cleaning and sanitizing the playground and what happens if some kid pukes or poops in there. He told me that his routine staff works on the room every night using a bunch of cleaning and sanitizing compounds Not risk elimination, but definitely reduction. He also said that the poop/puke events are infrequent, but they do happen and his staff are trained on how to contain, look for spray/smear and what special compounds to use (and their concentrations).

We’ve never had one of our kids come screaming out with a bunch of puke or poop on their hands. Unlike Justina Whitmore, who according to Boston 25, had to deal with her kid being covered in human waste after playing at a McDonalds.

A New Hampshire woman is demanding an apology and is raising questions about the cleanliness of a Manchester McDonald’s after her son became covered in human waste in the play pen.
 
Justina Whitmore said that when she let her son play, she knew he may be covered in germs.
 
She said she never imagined her 5-year-old would emerge from the yellow slide covered in another child’s waste.
 
“I was still eating and the next thing I knew he came out and just stated there was poop all inside the slide,” she said. “When he came out, he was covered in poop.”
 
Gabriel said he was playing tag with another child, who apparently had a soiled diaper.
 
But it’s what happened after the incident that the mother finds even more outrageous.
 
There was no soap in the bathroom, and when she asked employees for help she said they just laughed at her.
 
“I went over to the counter and said, ‘Are you going to give me any paper towels or anything to help clean my son off,’ and they were just laughing and arguing about who should clean it up.”
 
For 10 minutes Justina said she was pleading for assistance only to have employees ignore her and take smoke breaks, or act like a child.

Playgrounds, particularly outdoor ones (with sand or surface bark) have been linked to outbreaks in the past. Pathogens can stick around and persist in soil (especially something hardy like Salmonella) and on fomites like slides (norovirus).

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.