Parents and children often find sanitation problems often in play areas in restaurants. Some issues are easy to see – a sniffling child or a dirty diaper. However, the unseen problems may be even more dangerous.

In areas where food is side-by-side with playground equipment the temptation is not to wash. Nelson Laboratories took test tube samples from several area restaurant play areas, plated out the bacteria on the swabs, and a few days later came back with the results.

Microbiologist Jason Smith says he was pleasantly surprised. "I was expecting a lot worse," Smith said. All of the tests came up negative for the really bad bacteria they were testing for, but Smith says there were other organisms present.

"It’s not filthy but then again, it is not exactly clean either," Dr. Biggs says.

Bacteria is not the only problem in play areas, viruses are also present. Viruses are difficult to test for, and most are airborne. Dr. Biggs says the best way to stay healthy and still let your children enjoy themselves is to wash their hands for fifteen to thirty seconds with soap and water before they put food in their mouths.