No Play Allowed

As a new mom I had the stereotypical need for all things clean.

I used hand sanitizer nonstop.  I changed my little one the moment she slobbered on her clothing.  I refused to let her sit in a high chair I hadn’t thoroughly cleaned with Clorox wipes.

I was a germ-Nazi.  No apologies.

My standards have relaxed somewhat as more ruffians have been born.  Though I am still a germophobe I’m not nearly as strict about germs as I was as a new mom.

Case in point, the playlands.

I know they are covered in filth.  How could they not be?!

Seriously, when are you going to get 45 children under the age of 7 running around in hamster tubes, sweaty and covered in french fry grease and not have germs procreating like bunnies all hyped up on Viagra?

Those hamster tubes… they give me the heebie-jeebies.  And they smell… raunchy…

Despite my suspicions of the playland areas I have figured out where every playland is on the western route of Interstate-40.  There is nothing like a playland to give you just a bit more oomph on a cross-country car trek.

Well, thanks to my friend Miss Sanitizer Pants I am now going to be minus playland fun forever.

She knows I don’t like germs.  And she sent this link with a note: “So… I’m officially not crazy.  🙂  Those play areas are worse than even my [paranoid] mind imagined.”

This is my friend who won’t sit on a hotel bedspread or walk barefoot on hotel carpets because of the potential germs.

(But her father is a physician, so I’ve always paid attention to what she tells me.  Besides, she’s really smart and funny.  So she’s probably right about everything and I need to send her husband a telegram letting him know it’s been decided: she’s always right.)

Turns out the playlands are to germs as a Sentosa foam party is to Semester at Sea college students.

(In other words, they go together like peanut butter and jelly with a wasabi kick.)

In case you’re vomiting in your mouth a little by the end of the PSA video put together by an irate Arizona mom, let me give you the Cliff Notes:

50 playlands visited, with samples of the grime from the floor and hands holds sent to a lab for microbial testing.

Results: 13 types of pathogens that can cause disease, including fecal contaminates (yes, I mean poop), four strains of staph, and the likely presence of meningitis and gonorrhea.

Ick, ick, ick!!!!!

I want to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.  After all I was the one who had to clean fecal matter from a mall play area slide one day.

It was not from my child.

My own child ran up to me and frantically said, “Mommy!  Mommy!  There’s poopie on the slide!”

(Like I deal with all things poop.  When did this happen to my life?)

As I cleaned it up I couldn’t help but wonder why I was cleaning someone else’s kid’s poop off the slide!  I looked around and saw a dad holding his toddler by the ankle with one hand and making swipes at the brown smoosh running out of the kid’s shorts with the other hand.

That dad had enough on his plate.

So I cleaned the poop off the slide.

And sanitized it with the hand sanitizer I just so happened to have in the diaper bag.

The moral of the story?  I’m not sure meningitis and gonorrhea are worth the few moments of peace you get by letting the kids run amok in the hamster tubes.

At bare minimum, make them wash their hands before eating their own greasy fries.

Do you ever get grossed out by play areas?  Where do you think the most germs live?

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