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Playground equipment can get dangerously hot, expert shares safety tips

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:41 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s summertime, and parents are eager to get the kids outside. But before taking a trip to the park, it’s important to think about safety.

Slides, climbing walls and spinners offer a great deal of fun in the sun, but playground equipment, no matter how child-friendly it seems, can cause a lot of pain if you don’t take precautions.

“Even the plastic slides and swings, but especially the metal slides or swings that are still at some of the parks can get incredibly hot,” said David Rathburn, firefighter with the Sparks Fire Department.

According to the website playgroundsafety.org, playground materials have recorded temperatures of up to 189°F, which can burn a child’s skin in less than three seconds.

Rathburn recommends checking the equipment before your kids start playing.

“Just walk up with your hand, touch the equipment. If it’s too hot to even have your hand on, it’s probably too hot for them to be playing on right now,” said Rathburn.

To keep kids safe, make sure their shoes stay on, avoid flip-flops, try not to expose bare skin to the equipment and get them out of the heat for breaks.

“Kids get to the park, they’re having fun, they’re running around with their siblings or their friends, and they’re not gonna recognize that they’re starting to get too hot or overheated,” said Rathburn. “Every 15 minutes or so, pull them into the shade, have them sit down for a minute, get some water.”

“If they go on the playground and say, ‘It’s too hot,’ it’s like ‘Okay then, we’ll try a different activity,’” said local father-of-two Moises Silva.

The number one key is hydration and right behind it is sunscreen.

Reno Parks Manager Matt Brezina told KOLO 8 News Now there are still about four playgrounds with metal slides around the city.

“We do have a couple of playgrounds being renovated in the next year and a half,” said Brezina.

In the meantime, he recommends avoiding the hottest hours.

“The morning and the evening will be the time when the equipment is the coolest,” said Brezina. “We are fortunate to have playgrounds that do have shade covering over them and we intend to incorporate those in any playground that we install.”

Signs of a serious burn include pain and blistering. If your child starts to feel dizzy or lightheaded, experts say to take them under the shade and always have water handy.

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