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ABC 13 News

6 Year Old's Head Sliced Open in McDonald's Play Tunnel


HOUSTON (KTRK) -- What was supposed to be a fun family outing, turned into a painful trip because of what a mom says happened at a Mcdonald's playground.


Most parents worry about hygiene at fast food play places, but what about safety? Nowadays, McDonald's is as known as much for its playground as it is its Happy Meals. The McDonald's on Uvalde has a big PlayPlace, which one mother claims left a deep cut on her son's forehead.


On the windows of this eastside McDonald's, there's a big bold invitation to play. Nicole Sierra has accepted the offer many times.


"I like to take them and let their energy out," Sierra said.


But she hasn't since May 25.


"He lost a lot of blood, a lot, a lot of blood," she said.


Sierra says her six-year-old son, Dominic, was playing inside one of the PlayPlace tunnels. He quickly turned his head, and playtime was over.


"I thought I had a bump, and I went like this and saw blood," he said.


Sierra believes an exposed nail or bolt left a two-inch gap in her son's forehead. It was so deep she says she could see bone.


Dominic lost so much blood that he fainted. To make matters worse, she says McDonald's employees did nothing. "They didn't even offer to help," she said.


The franchise owner wouldn't comment on the specific incident, but McDonald's sent a statement on her behalf that reads: "Absolutely nothing is more important to me than operating safe restaurants. I take matters concerning the safety of my restaurant and my PlayPlaces extremely seriously. I require all of my restaurants to be in full compliance with local, state and federal regulations as well as adhere to our own stringent standards.


Upon learning about these allegations, we took immediate action to gather the facts. Because we are still investigating, it would be inappropriate to comment or speculate on these claims. It is important to note, however, that this restaurant's PlayPlace has an exemplary safety record and no other claims have been made of this nature.


Play area safety messages are posted in a prominent, easy-to-read location and should be visible upon entry to the PlayPlace at my restaurant. McDonald's has a long-standing commitment to the safety and well-being of our customers, especially children. Our record in this area is well established and well known."


With a lawsuit, Sierra is now challenging the restaurant.


"If you have a bunch of kids on a playground, you have a duty to inspect it on a regular, daily basis, if not more and make sure it's 100 percent safe," said Jason Gibson, Sierra's attorney. Sierra also wants change.


"It should not have happened at all," she said. "It could have been worse. It could have been his eye and he could have been blind."


For now, she's still getting used to the permanence of a trip to the playground. "It will be a scar the way you see it," she said.


ABC13 couldn't find any agencies that regularly inspect these types of playgrounds. Sierra says she hopes to change that.


The PlayPlace owner says she takes safety seriously.


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