By Chevas D. Samuels
We all grew up knowing what those golden arches meant: McDonald’s. It’s as American as apple pie to some. The promise of a trip to McDonald’s has the power to turn a cranky child into a happy and helpful child. And kids should love McDonald’s, right? It has everything kids love: Happy Meals, Ronald McDonald and a play area for kids to run, jump and slide as long as they please. So what parent wants to think the unthinkable: that their children’s beloved play area could possibly be a potential risk to their health?
ASU Professor Erin-Carr Jordan, a child psychologist and mother of four, has been campaigning to bring awareness to the pathogens that linger in these play areas and what those pathogens can do to your child. Traveling to at least eleven different states to conduct research, Jordan made discoveries that will give you nightmares.
Jordan tells The Early Show about her findings:
“We found dirt and grime and rotting food and hair in clumps and swear words all over the place. Graffiti. Equipment in disrepair that is broken. Second-story windows that are busted out. Slides that have large gashes in them.” Jordan adds, “. . . If it’s a thing you don’t want your child being exposed to, we found it inside these play lands” (HuffPost 9/29/11).
Jordan says she informed these restaurants of her findings, but decided to ask a friend to help after noticing no signs of change from these restaurants. Her friend, a microbiology and immunology expert, made test swabs of these areas and according to Jordan, “We found several strands of opportunistic pathogens; in other words, things that can cause infection or disease. We found stuff that causes meningitis, food-borne illness, skin, hair, eye infections … fecal contamination, coli forms, quite a few things can make children ill, several of which are multi-drug resistant and potentially fatal” (HuffPost 9/29/11).
Although McDonald’s did eventually release a statement, Jordan is not convinced that McDonald’s is serious about truly handling this issue. She believes that their policies are “unclear” and that the statement “Is not a response” and “Has not led to corrective changes . . .”
To make matters worse, Jordan was banned from eight Phoenix-area McDonald’s restaurants and threatened with criminal trespassing if she did so.
Jordan may not be welcome in these restaurants, but it hasn’t prevented her from continuing to work hard to make parents aware of the dangers that can potentially harm their children.
“ . . . Just to say you spot clean isn’t enough,” says Jordan, “Because it doesn’t identify what that actually means” (HuffPost 9/29/11).
It takes courage to stick to your guns in situations like these and Courageous Woman Magazine is happy to know that we have mothers like Jordan who not only want a safe and healthy place for her children, but for the entire community of children. And after all, isn’t that what we all want?
To learn more about Jordan’s crusade, go to her website www.kidsplaysafe.net
KidsPlaySafe on Facebook.