Playground equipment can get dangerously hot: Follow these tips to prevent kids from getting burned

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
August 10, 2018, 12:51:23 PM EDT

The days of playing at a playground are a staple of summertime fun, as playgrounds are often packed during the summer. However, summer heat can bring playground equipment to dangerously high temperatures and increase your child's risk of thermal burns.

Some adults may have a memory of how burning hot those metal slides of their youth could become in the summer sun.

There were an estimated 1,200 emergency department treated injuries involving thermal or unspecified burns associated with playground equipment between 2010 and 2015, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).


Ground-up recycled tire crumbs cover this playground behind the K-2nd grade elementary Dickerson School in Chester, N.J., Wednesday, June 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

While metal equipment is typically thought of as the main threat, some of the newer materials, such as plastics and rubbers, also have the potential to become hot enough to burn a child’s skin.

The air does not have to be hot in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns.

As long as the equipment or surfacing is in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, there is a risk of sustaining a thermal burn injury.

One reported incident occurred on a 74-degree-Fahrenheit day, which resulted in a child receiving serious second‐degree burns from a plastic slide, the CPSC reports.

CBS News reported that a child was burned by a plastic slide when it was only 80 F, but the plastic slide had reached a temperature of more than 160 F.

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A child of any age can be burned by a hot surface. However, children 2 years old and younger are most at risk.

A young child’s skin is more susceptible to burning because it is thinner and more delicate.

Young children have not learned to react by removing themselves from the hot surface. A young child who is sitting or standing on the hot surface may scream from the pain of burning, but they may not know to move from the location that is burning them, according to the CPSC.

The CPSC recommends a number of safety precautions to reduce your child's risk of burns.

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