An Arizona mom has documented the less than savory conditions at more than 50 fast-food restaurant playlands. She even spent a family road trip gathering up swabs to send out for microbial testing. The not very surprising (but still really gross) conclusion: many of these play areas are covered in food, hair, garbage, and "thick black schmutz." Not to mention the frequent presence of bacteria.
Inadvertent playland activist Erin Carr-Jordan (also a developmental psychologist) says Chick-fil-A is happy to share details about its "cleaning protocols," but McDonald's, Burger King and Chuck E. Cheese, not so much.
It seems that inspectors monitor the restaurants for cleanliness and food safety, but not the play areas. One helpful public health employee in Chicago said that "inspectors do monitor for insect and rodent activity" in playlands as well as restaurants.