Dangerous Playground Equipment: What Parents Should Know

This was a segment that I watched on Good Morning America today.  Please take a minute to watch.  I know we try to go to the park at least once a day, and this is important to know.


That’s right with “Gma investigates. ” Hot playgrounds and a warning to parents on these warm summer days, it doesn’t have to be scorching outside to heat up the equipment on your child’s playground. ABC’s Bazi Kanani has all those details for us.

Reporter: Summer sun means summer fun for kids everywhere but bare skin and hot playground equipment can lead to serious burns. I’m going to get you. Reporter: On five days this summer using an infrared thermometer at the hottest time of day “GMA investigates” tested playground equipment across the country recording the highest temperatures.

This metal surface in L. A. , 129 degrees.

This baby swing in Houston, 138 degrees. This swing if Phoenix, 150. The blacktop at the same playground, a whopping 185 degrees and on the plastic slides we tested, 158 to an unbelievable 189 degrees.

At 140 degrees it can take as little as three seconds for a child to get a second degree burn and five seconds to get a third-degree burn but if you think the temperature outside has to be sweltering for playground equipment to heat up, think again. When this woman took her kids to the Annapolis zoo it never crossed her mind to check the temperature of the equipment. Her then 22-month-old girl continually headed straight for the slide.

She scooted forward. As she scooted forward it was — she stopped. She screamed really loud.

Something I had never heard before in my life. As I grabbed her, her skin stayed with the slide. Reporter: That slide baking in the sun.

She says doctors at the ER told her it gave her a near third-degree burn. It was April and it was 72 degrees. It was the first day it had hit 70 and just blew my mind.

Reporter: A year later she still has a scar and refuses to go down slides. You done? Yeah.

Reporter: The zoo told “GMA investigates” the incident was the first of its kind and we have since implemented a policy of regularly inspecting slide temperatures. Which children are most at risk? It’s really children who are 2 and younger because younger children’s skin is thinner and more delicate and they may not have the reflex to move their body part away from the heat.

Reporter: We tested even more equipment at a D. C. Playground with Rachel Weintraub from the consumer federation of America.

We’ve got a thermal imaging camera and thermal thermometer to check out how hot it gets. On a slightly overcast 85-degree day with many kids playing we measure the slide. At first it’s a mild 86 degrees but watch what happens after just two minutes of sun exposure.

Almost up to 100 degrees now. And after ten minutes and 133. That’s definitely hot enough to burn a child.

For “Good morning America,” Bazi Kanani, ABC news, Washington. And we reached out to the international play equipment manufacturer association. They told us they urge its members to warn parents about the hazards much burns and to take steps to reduce the risk including using cooler materials and increasing shady areas much as a young child growing up on the Mississippi coast, I can remember the metal slides.