Playground equipment can become burn hazards

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The innocent sounds of children on a playground fill the summertime air at Kamper Park, but can sometimes lead to cries of pain as temperatures in the nineties can turn those inviting slides and swings into burn hazards.

"Sometimes the slide is hot, they won't slide, burns their legs, but children don't really think about it like that," said Rebekah Paylor as her sons played on the swing set.

"Sometimes he goes home, he has a burn or something on his arm, but it's nothing he loves to come back so it really doesn't bother him," said Sidnetra Griffith as her son continued to slide.

It's something many parents take for granted, or don't even think about, especially with plastic playground equipment, just ask Lake Serene family nurse practitioner Ashley Ford.

"I previously worked in the emergency room and you can see kids who sustained burns to the palms and especially those who were let run barefoot, they had sustained some burns to the soles of their feet," said Ford.

Although kids will be kids, heat will be heat, and a Mississippi summer won't be letting up.

"It doesn't take long for the temperature of metal slides to get up to 140 degrees. Children can begin to burn after just a few minuets at 120 and even after seconds at 140 and so you want to be sure you're testing these slides before you let your children go play on them.

One way you can test out the equipment before putting your children on it is to take your bare hand, put it on to the slide for example and if you can leave it there comfortably for about 5 seconds, then the equipment should be good to go.

If it's too hot, there are still ways to run off that over abundance of energy at places like Kids Rule! Family Fun Center in the Newpointe Shopping Center for example, where for less than $10, it's an all day affair.

"We felt like there was a need for a place for kids to come and play indoors. This time of year the climate is such, it's so hot out," said owner Larry Knight. The indoor playground opened in mid-June and Knight says business is bouncing along just fine.

"It's padded, it's cushioned, you know, it's air. I think you avoid, you know, sun exposure, sunburn, less potential injury with your children that way," said Knight.

That idea sold Karen Booner on bringing the fun indoors, after just one day at the park.

"The metal gets really hot even to me, so I know to them, putting them on slides and swings and such is hot to their skin," said Bonner.

"I'd rather have him inside, but he likes to come out here more than inside," said Griffith.

So if the great outdoors is more your thing, Ford says should a burn happen wash it off with cool water, not cold, which could cause more damage.

"Just soap and water. Don't use your over the counter things like peroxide and alcohol. Those can actually lead to decreased healing time," said Ford.

Because healing from a burn is the last thing kids want to do when enjoying summer is the priority.

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