Dangerous Playground Equipment in Summer
Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2018.
As summertime gets into full swing, many parents are taking their children out to enjoy the outdoors and get in some playtime. In addition to keeping an eye on the kids and preparing for the risks of dehydration in the heat, parents will also need to be aware of the dangers of playground equipment during the summer.
Playgrounds can present dangers to children at any time of year. Reckless playing and faulty equipment can lead to accidents that leave kids with injuries; however, those aren’t the only issues parents need to be aware of when watching their kids on playground equipment.
Playground equipment can heat up with temperatures heading into the triple digits. Everything from swings to slides absorb that heat and can end up dangerously hot, especially with the sun beating down on it all day. Some metal fixtures can reach temperatures as high as 150 degrees – and that’s even when recorded in the evening.
Such high temperatures are dangerous for anyone, but especially for children who have more sensitive skin. A child who touches a piece of hot playground equipment may receive dangerous burn injuries to the skin (even second-degree burns). These burns can be very painful for children and even can lead to blisters and the risk of infection.
How to Check Equipment Temperatures
Kids typically want to rush off onto the playground from the moment they arrive, but it’s important for parents first to check that playground equipment isn’t too hot. Here is a simple test parents can use: Hold the back of your hand against the equipment and see if you can tolerate the temperature for fie seconds. If you can’t, then the equipment is too hot for a child to use.
Parents also shouldn’t assume the equipment is OK because other kids are playing on it. What one child can handle may be dangerous for another. Parents should always check first and listen if their children say it’s too hot. Even in the cooler evening hours, heat will remain from the day, so parents should check then, as well.
Hot temperatures don’t necessarily make playground equipment unusable. Home equipment can be cooled to a safe level by running water over it for a few minutes. Sitting on blankets is a good way to go down a slide and avoid burns.
Wearing appropriate clothing also helps reduce the risk of burns. Children should at least wear enough clothes to cover the major contact areas with equipment. Loose-fitting clothing is appropriate to both prevent burns from equipment and avoid overheating. Some children may want to play barefoot, but proper shoes are necessary to avoid burned feet from hot playground padding.
Most equipment burns will be first-degree, which are simple to treat with a little cool water and aloe. Some burns can reach second-degree, though, such as extensive slide injuries. Parents can recognize a second-degree burn by peeling of skin and possible blistering.
It is possible to treat a second-degree burn at home with proper disinfectants and bandaging; however, such burns run the risk of infections, which can be dangerous for children. If parents don’t feel confident in their treatment skills or start to notice swelling or pus around the burn, they should take their children to see a doctor.
Keeping an eye on playground equipment temperatures may not be the first thing on the minds of parents trying to keep their kids busy and happy this summer, but it is important. Making awareness and injury prevention part of your summer routine can ensure everyone has a fun, safe time on the playground.