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Kaplan University Researchers Uncover Significant Risks Posed by U.S. Indoor Playgrounds in 25 States



  Kaplan University Researchers Uncover Significant Risks Posed by U.S. Indoor
  Playgrounds in 25 States

  In-depth study finds pathogens, debris, and damaged equipment prevalent in
  indoor playgrounds, which attract more than 500 million children annually

Business Wire

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- February 19, 2013

Research findings released by Kaplan University professors Erin Carr-Jordan,
Ph.D., and Annissa Furr, Ph.D., show indoor playgrounds at restaurants across
the country pose high risks of illness and injury to children. Recent testing
at 49 indoor playgrounds in 25 states revealed the presence of pathogens,
broken equipment, and trash.

Dr. Carr-Jordan, chair of Kaplan University’s graduate psychology department,
and Dr. Furr, a faculty member with Kaplan University’s general education
science department, gathered comprehensive data related to indoor play
environments and their impact upon children’s physical and psychological
health. The results suggest that indoor playgrounds present a significant
danger to the health and safety of children. According to Dr. Carr-Jordan,
childhood illness and injury may have harmful effects on normal psychological
development and functioning in children.

“Indoor play structures have become a mainstay for parents, particularly
during winter months,” said Dr. Carr-Jordan. “Since the beginning of this
study, we have worked to raise awareness and momentum for stricter safety
standards for this type of playground, and we hope the government and
restaurant owners will heed the call and make sure these play structures are
safe.”

The research project included a random sampling of playgrounds in rural and
urban areas, high and low socioeconomic levels, and both fast food and
family-style restaurants. Risk factors were measured using guidelines from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration,
the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the American Society for Testing
and Materials.

The study found:

  * 93.9% contained unsafe levels of pathogens
  * 85.7% contained broken equipment
  * 89.8% contained debris and/or trash
  * 59.2% contained graffiti
  * Slightly less graffiti in high socio-economic areas
  * No difference in rural versus urban areas
  * No difference for fast food versus family-style restaurants

Each year, over 500 million children frequently play in indoor playgrounds.
“We are especially concerned about preschool and elementary school children,
who are a high-risk subset of the population, not only because of their
underdeveloped immune systems, but also because their primary behavior
patterns include crawling and putting things in their mouths,” said Dr. Furr.

Connie Bosse, vice president of Kaplan University’s College of Public Service,
regarded the study as important academic research with practical applications.
“The research performed by Drs. Carr-Jordan and Furr is a prime example of the
creative scientific work we encourage, with the goals of benefiting the larger
community and enabling students to see groundbreaking research in action,”
said Bosse.

The complete results of the study will be shared at the upcoming American
Psychological Association’s National Conference in July. For more information,
contact Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan at ecarrjordan@kaplan.edu.

About Kaplan University

Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher education.
It strives to help adult students unlock their talent by providing a
practical, student-centered education that prepares them for careers in some
of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus
in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The
Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org) and is a member of the North
Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Kaplan University serves
approximately 49,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11
campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning
Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

Kaplan University is one of Kaplan, Inc.’s higher education institutions,
which serve approximately 73,000 students online and through approximately 70
campus-based schools across the United States. Kaplan’s higher education
schools offer a spectrum of academic opportunities, from certificates and
diplomas to graduate and professional degrees, including a juris doctor
degree. Kaplan, Inc. is a leading international provider of educational and
career services for individuals, schools and businesses. It is a subsidiary of
The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), and its largest division. For more
information, visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu today.

Contact:

rbb Public Relations
Julia Wakefield, 305-445-9750
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