Playgrounds, equipment can burn children in high temps
June 19, 2012 at 3:21 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 8:13 AM
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Sunny days means objects on the playground are going to get hot and that can be dangerous...especially for kids.
Even with today's plastic coated playground equipment those surfaces can still get hot enough to burn.
4-year old Haven Downs was out at Craighead Forest with her mom Jessica Johnston. "The play ground is hot but it's not hot outside." Haven said but that nice springy surface at Optimist Park belies it's temperature.
Johnston, "I thought it was about 130 but when you showed me it was 170 I was amazed that's really hot."
UAMS/AHEC doctor,Dr. John Gray says it's actually pretty easy to get burned.
"Any temperature above the physiological temperatures of the body and it's mainly a calculation of the amount of time it's on that surface."
"I guess it's something you don't really think about as long as they are having fun." said Johnston.
As the temperatures continue to climb, play times might need to be modified.
Dr. Gray, "Play earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when those surfaces are cooler. Fortunately it's been pretty cool this summer but later on it could be a cause of even severe burns at times."
Even at 11:20 the basketball court at CWL park was showing around 117 degrees on my laser thermometer.
At Craighead Forest Park, the clouds caused the playground surface to cool a bit . A barefoot Kenterrian Washington thought it was about 65. His calculations were off a bit.
"A 142? I didn't know it was that hot." he said when I showed him the thermometer.
"So you think you probably ought to be wearing shoes?" I asked.
"Uh huh." he replied. "I jumped off there (pointing at a slide) and it started burning when I put my feet on the ground. I'm going to go put some shoes on before my feet get real burned."
If you don't want to wear shoes, fine. But stay off the hard surfaces and get into the water like many kids were doing at the splash park. No toasty toes there.
Slides and other flat surfaces can be especially nasty as a lot of flesh can come in contact on the way down.
Dr. Gray, "It's gonna be on their inner thighs, buttocks from sitting down on hot surfaces,or on their forearms or hands from touching hot surfaces."
Gray said there are precautions a parent can take. "It's very easy during the hot summers here in Arkansas for children to come in with dehydration after playing outside, burns from coming in contact with hot metals or hot surfaces and then from heat strokes as well."
Drink up, slap on the sunscreen, be aware of hot surfaces and watch the time in the sun will make your summer a lot more fun.