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Prevea Health

Playground safety during summer months


As children head outdoors in the summer months, their neighborhood playground is likely a popular destination. But parents should take caution when their children play on the equipment on hot summer days.

According to Playground Medic, an organization dedicated to making playgrounds safe, even dark colored plastic equipment can reach 148 degrees in the direct sun when air temperatures are warm enough. Playground Medic also notes that children's skin will burn at a temperature of 130 degrees. 

Beyond the heat, the National Program for Playground Safety put together a list of summer playground safety tips:
  • Ensure adult supervision is present
  • Make sure children are playing on age-appropriate equipment
    • Preschoolers (ages 2-5) and school-age children (ages 5-12) are developmentally different and need different equipment
  • Check ground surfaces to make sure they'll offer protection in case of a fall
    • Acceptable surfaces include: wood fiber or mulch, pea gravel, sand, poured-in-place rubber, rubber mats or rubber tiles
    • Non-acceptable surfaces include: concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks.
  • Check to make sure playground equipment is anchored safely in the ground and free of rust, splinters and missing parts
    • All equipment pieces are in good working order
    • S-hooks are entirely closed
    • Bolts are not protruding
    • No exposed footings
  • Ropes used as part of playground equipment should be secured on both ends
  • Bicycle helmets should not be worn while playing on the equipment. They can be easily caught and may cause strangulation
  • Children should wear appropriate clothing
    • Closed-toe-shoes
    • No clothing with hanging strings or other objects
  • Take proper sun protection precautions
  • Protect children from extreme temperatures - A heat index at or above 90 degrees may pose a health risk to children. It's also important to keep children well hydrated.

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