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Cool Advice For Hot Playground Equipment

July 3, 2012, 6:09 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Cool Advice For Hot Playground Equipment

This Fourth of July many families will be spending time together outside at parades, pools and parks. But have you ever thought about how warm playground equipment is when it's this hot out?

In fact, with temperatures nearing 100 degrees Wednesday, swings and slides could be hot enough to cause burns.

Tonya Spencer's four kids will no doubt be spending time outside this Fourth of July.

"The heat doesn't affect them like it affects me," Spencer said.

They loved hanging out at McKennan Park around the noon hour when temperatures were nearing 90.

"It's too hot. It's to the point where we need air outside too," Spencer said.

So exactly how hot is the playground equipment? The metal part of a swing in the sun registered at around 108 degrees around noon in Sioux Falls using a special thermometer. In the shade, it registered at around 94 degrees.

"Metal surfaces maybe get up to 160 degrees. That's really hot. You can burn beyond 120 degrees," Avera Certified Family Life Educator Betty Barto-Smith said.

The slide registered for us at 120 degrees even though it's made out of plastic, not metal.

"Slides in particular because they're a long, flat surface and if they're exposed consistently to the sun, then they tend to be hotter," Barto-Smith said.

The monkey bars came in at around 108 degrees. Because most people do not have a thermometer on hand, Barto-Smith recommends parents touch the surface beforehand.

"Certainly if it feels hot to the touch, then it's going to be way too warm for the kids to be playing on," Barto-Smith said.

"We certainly see a lot more sunburn-related injuries than we do from contact burns from the playground equipment.  But those are certainly things you have to watch out for," Avera Emergency Medicine Dr. Jared Friedman said.

That is why Spencer says she's extra cautious.

"If the sun is straight on them, I touch them to make sure they're not too hot," Spencer said

Doctor Friedman also says you should make sure you and your loved ones don't get too hot. Some signs of heat-related illness include fatigue, dizziness, and if you stop sweating.

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