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Posted: 1:05 p.m. Monday, March 26, 2012

One woman's crusade against filthy fast food restaurant playgrounds

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By Clark Howard


The fast food restaurant playgrounds are filthy and one woman is on the warpath to clean them up.

Erin Carr-Jordan, a 37-year-old mother of four with a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, has been at war in Arizona and across the country with health departments and restaurants. She's incensed because they're filthy, and she wants county health inspectors to check playgrounds when they do their inspections.

This crusade started because Carr-Jordan took her three year old on the slide at a McDonalds playground in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix. "Inside I saw filth and grime coupled with clumps of dirt, matted hair and rotting food ... the entire structure was riddled with swear words and gang signs," she told The Arizona Republic.

So she left and came back next day to do a mother inspection. After complaining to the manager and getting no satisfaction, she hired a lab to come in and test the playground on her own dime.

What did they find? "Opportunistic human pathogens" common to fecal material, mucus, matted hair and food.

Now Carr-Jordan is a one woman movement who travels around the country and tests samples so she can seek law changes. There are no rules about this kind of stuff.

My take? I understand the desire to protect a child, but I don't get it. We can't create an antiseptic world. If we try to, our kids will likely be very susceptible to who knows what later in life because they haven't built up any resistance.

I'm not a doctor and maybe I'm wrong on this, but kids get dirty. I think about every fall, when the kids go back to school and get sick and it works its way through their system. I think we should leave the fast food restaurant playgrounds alone and let kids have fun.

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