Children often look forward to playing in the ball pit but if you’re a parent, allow us to give you a warning about it. According to a team of researchers from the University of North Georgia, their study have proven that ball pits are haven of disease-causing germs.
After studying six sites, they discovered more than 31 different kinds of bacteria including those that can cause bladder and heart lining infections. To make matters worse, ball pits are usually cleaned only after several days or weeks.
The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, tells us that while ball pits motivate children to explore their motor and sensory skills, they can likewise be harmful due to exposure of potential contaminants.
According to a scientist, a typical McDonald’s Play Place Ball Pit is filthier than the restaurant’s toilets. There are even reported instances that “homeless people, sharp objects and copulating teenagers” were found in ball pits.
Meanwhile, a Reddit post written by someone who claims to be a former worker at Chuck E. Cheese Family Fun Center says that when the balls get so dirty, they only put the balls in netted bags, load them at the back of their boss’ pickup truck and then they take the vehicle “through a carwash.”
The researchers go as far as specifying that ball pits are “often contaminated with visible dirt, vomit feces or urine.”
As a DailyMail report tells us about the said research:
“To do their tests, the team fished out balls from different depths and areas of each pit.
“At the clinic with the dirtiest ball pit, the researchers found an average of 170,818 bacteria per ball. One ball had 712,000 microorganism cells.
“Although the the pits had plenty of additional non-human bacteria, the human-originating bugs likely to sneak past children’s weakened immune system included Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylocccus hominis, Streptococcus oralis, and Acinetobacter Iwofii.
“Collectively, these bugs can cause sepsis,urinary tract infections, endocarditis (an infection of the heart’s lining), meningitis, bloodstream infections, skin infections and pneumonia in children.”
To solve the problem, the researchers are suggesting that it is important to come up with “standardized cleaning protocols developed to limit the presence of opportunistic pathogens in this environment.”
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