Hot Playgrounds

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

With the record heat the Grand Valley has seen, doctors have seen an increase in the number of children being burned on hot playground equipment.

Dr. Mike Whistler says it's something he says every summer -- kids coming into his office with burns after they've been playing on playgrounds that are way too hot. Add 52 straight days of 90 degree temperatures or above and he says it's a real concern.

"I've seen that a few times," said Dr. Whistler. "Burns that can be mild like first degree burns which are red, and burns that are more significant like second degree burns tend to blister."

On a 100 degree day, experts say playground equipment can reach 166 degrees. Skin burns at 124 degrees.

"I think it's important for parents at this time of year, when they take their child to the playground to check the playground equipment," said Dr. Whistler.

It's also important to monitor what your kids are playing on. Health experts say on a sunny day it's probably a good idea to stay away from things made of metal or dark plastic since they absorb a lot of heat, and stick with things that are light colored and have rubber on them.

Doctors say the top culprits for burns are the slides -- something that mom Blair Wade says she knows all too well.

"We always check the slides if it is sunny because the slides get really hot," said Wade. "We make sure that if we are going out on a sunny day that she's wearing jeans, so she doesn't get burned."

Experts say going out at the right time of day will also help minimize heat related injuries.

"You're probably much better off going in the morning or in the evening when the sun is going down," said Dr. Whistler.

But Wade says with her energetic girls, that is easier said than done. So when they're ready to hit the slides and monkey bars in the afternoon, she has another way to beat the heat.

"We like to go to Lincoln Park because a lot of the trees shade the playground and keep it a little cooler," said Wade. "A lot of the other playgrounds that aren't in the shade we tend to stay away from.

But even the most prepared parent can't stop everything from happening, so doctors say if you notice blistering burns on your kids or if they complain about pain from burns, you should take them to get checked out.

Doctors say if your child has minor burns, over the counter products with either lidocaine or benzocaine should help numb the pain.


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