Staying Safe on the Playground in Long Periods of Heat - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Staying Safe on the Playground in Long Periods of Heat

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The playground is a popular place in the summertime when school is out and the sun is shining.

Scrapes, sunburns and dehydration are common after a day spent on the jungle gym, but parents may not realize that the playground may be just as dangerous.

"You think about playground equipment. Everyone thinks it's nice and safe, unfortunately it's made out of materials that absorb heat," said Chris Good, medical director of the Emergency Department at the United Hospital Center.

As the mercury rises, experts said so do the temperatures on playground equipment.   Although metal slides seem to be a thing of the past, coated metal and plastic materials can be hot enough to cause significant burns.

"There have been a few that's serious," said Mike Book, director of Harrison County Parks and Recreation.

Book said equipment can reach temperatures of 140 degrees even on a day where the outside temperatures are sitting in the low 80s.  

According to, it would take just three seconds for a second degree burn to develop with equipment at 140 degrees. 

"Equivalent to putting your hand over your grill when you just start it," Goode said.

Goode said a child is much more susceptible to burns, but also said that not all burns require immediate professional attention.

"Most of the time they don't require medical care. Just local wound care is the most important thing. If they would blister of be of any concern, have the child seen by a physician to ensure you don't have any long term damage," Goode said.

Goode also encouraged parents to keep an eye on the development of an infection, as this could cause more serious issues. 

When it comes to being safe on the jungle gym, Book said it boils down to common sense.

"Take your wrist, check it on the equipment. If it's too hot for you it will definitely be too hot for the younger kids," Book said.

He said you can also protect your child's skin by covering it with clothing. 

"Proper clothing. I don't think they should ever be barefoot on play equipment," Book said.

Over the years, Book said more and more attention is being placed on playground equipment. He said the new coated metals and plastics are helping.  He said Harrison County Parks and Recreation takes these concerns into mind when designing new playgrounds. In fact, the new playground at the 4-H Center in Clarksburg will feature more shaded areas, as a way to reduce the amount of direct sunlight.

For more tips on keeping cool and staying healthy in high temperatures, click here
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