How to Prevent Burns from Playground Equipment

During the summer months many parents head to the playground during the day to give their children the chance to play. There are burn hazards involved with the playground, however, since a lot of the equipment is made of metal. When this metal is exposed to the heat of the sun, it can get extremely hot and burn a child’s little hands and legs.
In the United States, there were approximately 1,200 visits made to the emergency department from 2010 up to 2015 due to burns associated with this equipment. Metal slides can be especially menacing since the child doesn’t feel the heat until he starts to slide down it.
Parents should always feel the heat of the equipment before allowing their young children to play in the playground. Metal equipment should be felt first but the parents should also realize that many newer materials for playground equipment such as rubber and plastics can also heat up to the point where they can burn the skin. All equipment should be checked and rechecked during the playground visit.
Even if the air temperature isn’t hot, the equipment can still heat up. If the surface of the equipment is in the direct path of sunlight, the heat can become extremely intense. It’s possible for children to receive second-degree burns from equipment even on days when it doesn’t seem too hot outside.
A plastic slide has the potential to reach 160°F even if it’s only 80°F outside. As well, children are more susceptible to thermal burns because their skin is more delicate and thinner than the skin on an adult. Children also don’t react as quickly when they feel a hot surface and may actually stay on the equipment and just start screaming from the burning pain.
Exercise caution if you’re planning on visiting a playground on a sunny day and don’t let the air temperature fool you. If you can, you may want to engage in other activities during the day and then take the children to the playground later on when the sun isn’t as intense.
If you are interested in learning more about burn prevention during these warm summer months, or would like to participate in any of our CPR/First- Aid courses, please visit our website at Taking a first-aid course will ensure you will be ready if you or someone you know get burned, or if any other health emergency should arise.