June 09, 2010

Contents of this playground may be hot!

SlideSummer is upon us, and temperatures are rising. Our hometown of Washington, DC was a sweltering 90 degrees this past weekend, which made playing outdoors a rather sweaty affair. Still, kids will be kids in nearly any climate, and we hope high temperatures don’t preclude a trip to the playground.

But just be warned: The contents of your playground may be hot! Several stories have hit the news lately about dangerously hot playground equipment. In Des Moine, Iowa an 18-month-old suffered second-degree burns on her hands, knees, and stomach from a slide. In both Manhattan and Brooklyn, experimental domed climbing structures have been roped off with caution tape after several reported burns.

KTYX , an East Texas news agency, tested playground equipment in Tyler, Texas with an infrared thermometer. The swing seats were 123 degrees, and the plastic slide tested at 155 degrees. Ouch!

But the last thing we want is for parents to worry even more about their kids on the playground. Neither do we want to see officials implement even more stringent safety standards that might discourage experimental play equipment, like the domes in New York.

So before the hysteria sets in, let’s take a deep breath. Both parents and kids can test playground equipment by lightly touching it, just as you might test bathwater. And instead of getting rid of “dangerous” play equipment, we can consider shade structures, which help both the playground and your kids stay cool. Or what about good old-fashioned trees?

We all want our kids to stay safe—often all it takes is a little common sense.

Photo by Horia Varlan (cc).

safety, summer, playground equipment