The Dangers of Hot Playground Equipment

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Summers in Spain can be hot, very hot, so it probably doesn’t surprise you to find that playground equipment can quickly heat up too. But just how hot can the equipment get, and how dangerous is it for your children?

Doctors and scientists tell us that a surface hotter than 49 degrees centigrade can burn, and it can be incredibly dangerous to children whose skin is more sensitive than an adults. The metal and plastic equipment used in playgrounds has lots of potential to heat up more than you’d expect when exposed to direct sunlight.

Below is a link to a news item from the USA describing how dangerous hot playground equipment can be.

Hot playground dangers video link

In a recent study of a standard children’s playground in the United States a temperature sensor was used to measure the heat of the playground equipment that the children were in danger of touching. The results are frightening. A slide recorded a temperature of 45 degrees centigrade, the monkey bars were 48°c and the seat of a teeter-totter was an astounding 52 degrees centigrade!

Another thing that might surprise you is that the surfaces that many playgrounds are built on, rubberized surfaces, measure just as hot as the equipment. The one where the recordings above were taken, for example, measured at more than 65 degrees centigrade. The problem is, as one child explained, “It’s out in the sun all day, cooking. There’s no shade or anything for it.”

Hot playground equipment can be dangerousIf you are concerned about the temperature of your playground equipment the best way to know if it is safe is to check it with the back of your hand, not your palm, because the skin on the back is more sensitive. Also, be aware that younger children can burn more easily because they don’t always have the reflexes to immediately pull away.


Always test any equipment before allowing your children to play on it, even those in the shade as it might have only just come from out of direct sunlight.

Last year, an 18-month-old girl from Des Moines, Iowa, received second-degree burns on her arms, knees and stomach after she went down a hot slide. Doctors say if you can’t keep your hand on a hot surface for more than a few seconds, don’t let your kids near it.

What can we do to help protect our children?

The most obvious way is to keep our children indoors, but let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen! The next best solution which is both affordable and attractive is to install a shade sail to give protection, not just to the children’s equipment, but to the children too. From large school playgrounds to small childrens nursery areas shade sails are perfect for protecting the kids.

Your youngsters can play on the shaded equipment without burning themselves and at the same time they are protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. (See our article on Sun Protection for more information about the sun’s harmful UV rays.) This solution is perfect not only for a home situation, but also for schools and local outside spaces where kids play on equipment. The shade sails from Coolashade come in many different sizes and colours and are strong, well built and ideal for all applications. Extras that can be supplied include padded post protectors that ensure a safe play environment for your children.

© 2011 Coolashade Shade Sails Spain

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