Ok, there might actually be some deaths in ball pits, but not due to heroin-laced needles or copperhead snake nests inside of McDonald’s, Burger King’s, or Chuck E. Cheese’s ball pits.
Why should you believe me, when these stories sound so convincing? Well honestly, I don’t know any better than you do. But I do take the time to check the facts before I post stories like these for others to read. I also post links to debunk the stories that have been circulated so that people stop doing perpetuating these urban myths.
The best and easiest place I know to go to check if a story is bunk or not is called Snopes.com. I simply entered “ball pits” into the search box, and immediately found these two articles (which are the two referenced in the message I received):
Needlepointless Tragedy: A little boy dies after being pricked by a heroin-filled syringe in a playground ball pit. FALSE
Snakes in the Ball Pit: Venomous snakes lurk in the ball pits of fast food restaurants. FALSE
As both articles point out, there are some real concerns about such ball pits:
Though the tragedy described in “Lauren Archer’s” e-mail is fictional, the danger of a tot coming into contact with a discarded syringe in one of those play nests is surprisingly real. Ball pit play areas aren’t always kept in the best condition. Before letting your child loose in one, make sure the play area’s maintenance staff spot cleans the pit once a day and washes all the balls every week. Diapers come off in ball pits, and half-eaten candy is routinely found in there. More disturbingly, syringes and knives have turned up in ball pits. [Source]
In closing, it’s good to be careful with your children. If you look at the ball pits as an analogy to life, there are always hidden dangers lurking, but some of the scariest sounding ones are just symptoms of overactive imaginations. Use common sense. And always check your facts before passing along urban legends. 🙂