Why playground equipment can be dangerous this summer

Keeping children safe on hot playgrounds
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:49 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As temperatures rise this summer, it can be dangerous for your children to play on playground equipment.

Tucson Fire Department Battalion Chief Barrett Baker said the equipment can burn your child if you’re not careful.

“If there’s not a canopy or something that’s providing shade, you need to do the parental check first,” Baker said. “Put your hand on the equipment, maybe act like you’re young again and go down the slide yourself. You’ll quickly find out on those extreme weather days between 2 p.m.-5 p.m., it’s not a good idea.”

What parents may not realize is surfaces like plastic and rubber can still get hot enough to burn your kids. Baker said it depends on the color of the surface and how much direct sunlight surfaces have been getting throughout the day.

“The lighter colors are going to be better. If you go to that playground and the slide is a dark blue, it’s just going to bring that heat in,” Baker said. “The difference in 10 degrees can actually be pretty extreme between a tiny burn and a burn you’ll need medical attention for.”

Uncoated metal equipment or metal equipment where the heat-reducing coating has rubbed off will cause severe burns. Slides, swings or other equipment that a child may sit on are extremely dangerous on severe weather days.

“We generally don’t see those extreme injuries when it comes to it. The caveat to that is if the child can’t move. If they’re young enough that they can’t really get out of it then that makes it a little bit different,” Baker said.

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