Triple Digit Danger: Hot Playground Equipment


A warning for parents of a hidden danger in plain sight at your local playground.

In this extreme heat, a trip down the slide could lead to a trip to the hospital, as children are at risk of severe burns.

Lewiston Fire Chief Travis Myklebust says a burn can happen within seconds, but with children it's more about how long it takes them to realize they've been burned - and how soon they can be treated.

This summer we're all trying to enjoy the outdoors while avoiding the scorch of the sun.

But the threat of sunburn isn't the only thing you have to worry about.

Chief Travis Myklebust says, "When it's sitting there taking the radiant heat and direct sunlight it can build up a temperature. It can be one of those unforeseen hazards."

Lewiston Fire Chief Travis Myklebust says playground equipment can put children at risk of contact burns.

KLEW News reporter Shannon Moudy followed along as he used a temperature gun to test slides, seats, and swings.

Chief Travis Myklebust says, "So they're sitting on 141 degrees."

Metal equipment is an obvious risk. But even shiny, reflective plastics can burn little ones when in the direct sun. And it can happen quickly.

Chief Travis Myklebust says, "137...140 degrees right there and they're going to sit down in their shorts. (Snaps) Boom. Probably in about ten seconds they're going to have a first-degree burn."

But a child's exposure could last much longer than a few seconds, as they haven't developed an aversion to painful burns.

Chief Travis Myklebust says, "It can take a little while longer for them to react and by then the burning process has already started."

The longer the skin is exposed to the hot surface, the worse the burn will become. Second-degree burns can cause redness, pain, and blisters, making secondary infections another risk.

And left untreated a simple first-degree burn can actually progress deeper into the skin, becoming a second-degree burn.

Chief Travis Myklebust says, "You need to cool a burn for at least 15 minutes to truly stop the burning process."

Myklebust recommends running tap water or a cool wash cloth on burns - but never ice.

Bandage any open blisters and never pop the blister yourself. That's your skin trying to heal.

It's recommended you take kids to the park before 10 A.M. or after 5 P.M. and try to keep in the shade as much as possible.

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