Thermal burn threat on playground equipment: Summer safety


HOUSTON (CW39) – Playgrounds… We love them, right? I’m breaking out my inner child today, but the summer heat can quickly turn laughs and giggles into tears due to thermal burns on playground equipment.  

Turns out it doesn’t have to be that hot for thermal burns to happen. 

Although metal is known for giving severe burns to children newer plastic material can be just as harmful during the summer. There were 30 thermal burn incidents from 2001‐2008. 10 were associated with plastic, rubber, and other non-metal surfaces. One study showed that on an 80-degree day a plastic slide warmed up to 160 degrees. Slides and swings are the most common culprits and smaller children are more at risk due to their more delicate skin.   

So, what can you do?  

First of all… Do not assume that the equipment is safe because the air temperature is not very high. Dress your child in appropriate clothing for the playground including shoes and pants. Several burn incidents have involved a child running barefoot across the playground. Always be sure to keep an eye out for your children. Many burn cases and other injuries can be avoided with proper supervision.   

Another thing you can do is go to the park in the early morning, or later evening hours. Maybe spend the hottest part of the afternoon indoors or making a splash in the pool.  

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