Playground equipment can reach dangerous temperatures

PADUCAH — Playground equipment can become dangerously hot in the summertime.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents to always check playground equipment before letting their children play. Even slides that are made of plastic and rubber, rather than metal, can cause burns.

Using an infrared thermometer, Local 6 went to Noble Park in Paducah Monday to see how hot the playground equipment was. Some surfaces were in excess of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. We also compared open slides without canopies versus tube slides. One open slide had a surface temperature of 133.7 degrees in the early afternoon. A nearby tube slide was 104.6 degrees.

Several hours later, at around 6 p.m., we went to another playground at Noble Park. Some slides exposed to the sun still had surface temperatures of nearly 140 degrees. But slides that were in the shade were much cooler, with one measuring at about 95 degrees.

Hank and Bryer

Bryer Hardin, 8, and his 4-year-old brother, Hank, were with their grandmother at one of the playgrounds Monday. Every time Hank wanted to go down a slide, Bryer touched it to make sure it was safe.

“Really surprised that it’s that hot, that it can be that hot in there.” Bryer said. “If it’s too hot on the playground, on the slides, then they can get blisters and stuff.”

The ground was even hotter than the slides, with the surface temperature at one location measuring at 161.3 degrees.

“If it’s really hot, then people shouldn’t play on the playground or anything barefoot,” Bryer said.

The CPSC says children ages 2 and younger are at the greatest risk of getting burned because their skin is more delicate, and they have not learned to react properly when on a hot surface.

The CPSC also reminds parents that even relatively mild weather can be dangerous. One child suffered second-degree burns from a plastic slide on a 74-degree day, because that slide was in direct sunlight.

More information are on the CPSC Fact Sheet.