Are restaurant play areas safe?

A child's safety should always be foremost on a parent's mind. Whether it's making sure they get to school safely or that they have the correct shoes to protect their feet.

It was no real surprise when a rather distressed mom asked us if we've heard of any bad incidents happening at a popular fast food restaurant play area. Like many parents, she wanted to have her son's birthday party at this restaurant and she needed to make sure that her son and his friends would be safe. You see, she'd found this disturbing complaint on about a little girl who was bitten by a venomous spider.

News24 reported that the Stonehaven-on-Vaal resort was fined R200 000 for culpable homicide after a 5-year-old boy was electrocuted and died while playing on the jumping castle at their play area. Parents may feel over-protective or neurotic when insisting that play areas be secure and safe but it's your child that could potentially be in danger.

First-hand experience

We asked our Facebook fans if they thought these play areas were safe and these are their thoughts and experiences.
  • They are quite safe - but always keep a look out anyway. - Tracey Bruton
  • As long as you watch them, its fine! I don't ever let my kids out of my sight in public places. - Brigitta Ellis-Nel
  • Just make sure your kids wash their hands before eating after playing there! In fact, in case the loos are grubby, take some wet wipes along. - Scott Dunlop
  • I don't allow my kids to play in the McDonald's play areas because they get sick every time they do. Haven't had any problems with the Spur restaurants. - Margo Prowse
  • You can't wrap them in bubble wrap - probably good for their immune system to be in there for a while anyway. - Meegyn Allen
Tips for playing safely

Take a look at the play area. If you see anything (broken toys, spiders etc.) that bothers you, call management and have them fix the problem.

Keep an eye on your kids. If there are strangers hanging around the play areas making you uncomfortable, call management or security.

Shoes are important! Especially when visting an outdoors restaurant. Harmful materials like glass can be hidden by grass and sand.

Wash up after playing. Wet wipes or a good scrub in the bathroom is essential after playing in public places. Germs can easily be picked up by kids in this way.

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How do you feel about public play areas? Do you let your kids play in them?
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