With everyone thinking about safety at the playground, i.e. masks and sanitation in light of Covid19, don't forget playgrounds get hot!
The weather in the inter-mountain west can be so hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. Just imagine how hot playground slides and other dark or metal objects can be on tender skin.
Do a Playground Walk through
As we move into the hot summer months, consider a walk through of your playgrounds and look for those things that you can adjust to account for the heat.
An excellent tool for checking the temperature is a handheld point-and-shoot infrared thermometer. They are often used in cooking, such as on the grill, but can be used to check your equipment before a child gets burned.
Look especially at dark metal or plastic, flat surfaces such as slides and playground decks, and particularly south and west facing structures. Even a brief touch, especially with a child’s delayed reflexes, can result in up to second-degree burns. Be sure to measure temperatures mid-day to evening, as summer afternoons are scorchers!
Summer Safety Tips for Hot Playground Slides and Playground Equipment
You can do a lot to mitigate the problems from excess temperatures:
Provide shade: Shade your playground structures with shade sails, trees, or by locating the playground where shade from buildings is available.
Safe placement for slides: When possible, install slides facing east or north.Put up a sign: Consider marking your structures with warnings that temperatures can be high and could result in burns.
No wet swimsuits: Remember that water conducts heat, so wet swimsuits shouldn’t be on hot slides.
Drinking water: Heat exhaustion and dehydration can occur quickly in children. Provide plenty of drinking water.
Use water sources: Providing clean, not hot, water nearby is a great way to make sure children are safe and happy as they enjoy the playgrounds during the summer heat.
Have fun and play safe!