Sun makes playground equipment too hot to handle

Sun makes playground equipment too hot to handle
The turf at Medi Park recorded a temperature of 144 degrees. (Source: KFDA)
The turf at Medi Park recorded a temperature of 144 degrees. (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Next time you're at the park with your children, you may want to touch the equipment before letting your kids play.

After taking an infrared thermometer to parks, we found that playground equipment may not necessarily be child's play.

Just because temperatures outside aren't scorching, doesn't mean that playground equipment isn't.

Older parks with metal equipment are hot to the touch.

In direct sunlight, a slide at Thompson Park was almost 130 degrees and the metal bars were no different, registering a temperature of 123 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the American Burn Association, if the surface of the equipment is 140 degrees it can take as little as three seconds to get a second degree burn and five seconds for a third degree burn.

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Pediatricians say younger kids who may not have the reflex to move away as quickly are at a greater risk.

We asked kids what they thought temperatures on some of their favorite things to play on may be.

"120, 103, 120, maybe 115 degrees," said a group of kids.

A plastic slide at Medi Park was 111 degrees.

Equipment in the shade was cooler, recording a temperature of about 90 degrees.

The children suspected the hottest part of the playground was the ground and they were correct.

In different areas of the park, the turf was as high as 144 degrees.

"Wear shoes, wear shoes definitely," said one child. "I can still feel a little hotness in my shoes."

The children said their parents make sure they're prepared to brave the elements before they get to the park with sunscreen and shoes always on.

Still, they're finding their own ways to keep cool.

"We run into the shade as fast as we can," said the group. "We bring water from the splash pad with a cup and pour it down and it's so fast. We put it down a slide and make it water slide. So it's not hot."

Parents I spoke with were shocked at what the thermometer was showing and some made sure to put their kids shoes back on.

The City of Amarillo says they've placed shade structures in newer parks, like Medi Park, and encourages park users to refrain from touching equipment that may be impacted by the heat.

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