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Restaurant playgrounds would need frequent cleaning under Illinois proposal

A potentially toxic mix of fast food and boisterous toddlers has Illinois lawmakers considering tougher regulations on indoor play areas at restaurants.

One year after imposing stricter rules on sex offenders at indoor play areas, the Illinois House is considering a law that would require restaurants to clean their play equipment at least once per day.

"This is an incredibly ripe and firm environment for germ growth. You have the grease and the sugar from the kids hands wiping off on that equipment. You also have kids in diapers and who are newly potty-trained and prone to accidents having an awful lot of accidents on the equipment and then crawling on it and eating afterwards," said state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg.

The measure, which advanced Tuesday to the full House on a 9-7 vote of the Consumer Protection Committee, has some opposition.

State Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, said there are no guarantees a play area will remain clean throughout a full day of use by kids.

"It can happen in an instant when a child sneezes on a slide. And we all know what's in a sneeze. I want to give our business owners more credit," Hammond said. "This appears to be a solution in search of a problem."

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