Twenty years ago, you couldn’t walk into a McDonald’s without seeing an indoor play area crawling with hyper children. But the good ol’ days of plastic slides, padded floor, and questionable puddles is gone. Many “kid friendly” fast food businesses have tossed away their playground equipment for table space and games. But why? In truth, fast food joints abandoned indoor play areas because they are a business liability: They are expensive to maintain and are the source of countless personal injury lawsuits.
According to an article on moms.com, a news source and support website for moms, “McDonald’s failed to report more than 400 injuries to children on playgrounds at restaurants nationwide back in the ‘90s, including 20 who suffered concussions or skull fractures and 80 who suffered broken bones.” And those are only the cases that went unreported. The average helicopter parent is not going to take a skull fracture sitting down.
But the concept of the indoor play area is still popular – it has simply moved from fast food locations to event spaces. For example, in Austin, you can take your child to Epic Fun, Mt. Playmore, and Hoppin House, and other venues. But are these locations any safer than the plastic slides of yesteryear?
Sadly, the answer is no.
Indoor Playgrounds are Unhygienic & Dangerous
Children aren’t exactly the embodiment of cleanliness and self-care. When your little one is racing around a play area, the last thing they want to do is stop, even for food or the bathroom. As a result, indoor playgrounds are dangerous breeding grounds for coliform bacteria, staphylococcus, and fecal bacteria. The employees do their best, but when hundreds of children are using the playground equipment, what can they do? While they should thoroughly clean the entire facility every night, most of the employees are underpaid teenagers with homework and a personal life. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for a child to get severely sick after visiting an indoor play area.
Another issue is that parents use indoor playgrounds as daycares. Navigating the leaps and bounds of parenthood can be a challenge, and it’s understandable to need a break from time to time. But you still need to keep an eye on your child and make sure they aren’t falling off equipment, hurting other kids, or being trampled in a ball pit. There is a fine line between parental responsibility and employee responsibility. So, when a parent sneaks out to run errands, it put the child and the employees in a difficult position. If the child is injured, who is liable?
A parent needs to review the following concerns before allowing the child to play in an indoor playground:
- Children defecate, vomit, and bleed deep in the labyrinth of plastic tunnels, ball pits, and slides.
- There are gaggles of unsupervised bullies – children and frustrated parents – looking for aggression outlets.
- Children can suffer severe injuries when utilizing playground equipment, and sometimes the other kids don’t run for help.
- It’s not uncommon for children to get trapped in ropes and tunnels.
- Children take food, drinks, and dangerous items into play areas and leave them behind.
- Kids dispose of dirty diapers in the tunnels to keep the fun going.
- There have been multiple incidents of young teenage boys assaulting younger girls.
- There have also been reports of exasperated employees injuring children by accident or on purpose.
Has Your Child Suffered Injuries at an Indoor Playground?
Contact the serious child injuries attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC if your child has been injured or sexually assaulted on playground property. We can investigate the business, identify the liable parties, and help you recover damages that facilitate your child’s recovery.
Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to discuss your legal options with a qualified attorney.