What is fun, colorful, and most likely covered in pee and/or drool? OK, so I can’t think of something that is funny to answer the question, so why not just jump right into it and tell you the real answer. It’s a “ball pit” (no, this is not a wrestling move as my aunt asked me when I told her about this issue with these play areas).
Anyone who was born in the 1980’s probably remembers how much fun it was to go into the ball pit at restaurants, parks, and parties. Most of us did not have a care in the world as to what we put in our mouths or what we touched. The great news is that most of us survived the ball pit, but did the pit make us sick?
So, with this whole UFE (Urine Feces Everywhere) thing going on now, and the fact that I am a father-to-be, I am thinking more and paying closer attention to the things around me. This is exactly what another parent had done; Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan (who some may know as the “McDonald’s Mom”) has been pretty busy with her research on child play areas and the harmful bacteria found in the tunnels and surrounding environment.
In her studies, Dr. Carr-Jordan visited 9 different states and tested play areas at some of the most popular food chains (you know which ones), and discovered that out of all of the test results, 90% of them tested for bacteria which could be harmful to children.
There are a few companies here and there that you can “Google” that clean pit balls, but many of these locations (I’m not singling out those popular food chains) still need to do a better job.
When it comes to the balls in balls pits, there are about 500 balls per 7 cubic feet, so compare that measure in feet with the size of the ball pit you take your children to. If Dr. Carr-Jordan was able to find traces of Escherichia coli, E. coli, (usually from feces) and other bacteria, imagine how many of those balls have touched your in some way.