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Playground equipment could be dangerous for kids in hot weather, according to officials



Little Rock, Arkansas – Authorities caution that playground equipment could endanger children as high temperatures persist across the state and students return to school.

On the metal slide at Meriwether Park in Little Rock, temperatures on Friday morning were around 100 degrees.

“Black plastic absorbs heat quite a bit. That is showing over 100 degrees on the top,” said Little Rock Fire Captain, Jacob Lear-Sadowsky, using an infrared thermometer to measure the edge of the playground.

Since Arkansas has recently seen triple-digit temperatures, the temperature of the playground equipment would be significantly higher.

One child reportedly suffered a second-degree burn from a plastic slide on a day when the outside temperature was just 74 degrees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Ambient air temperature obviously is quite elevated and surfaces in the sun actually will hold a lot of heat and get hotter than the temperature outside. For instance, it is about 10:30 this morning doing this interview and the metal slide here behind me is over 100 degrees in some spots that are in the sun,” said Lear-Sadowsky.

According to Dr. Kevin Foster, a burn surgeon who also serves as a spokesperson for the American Burn Association, he typically treats over 1,500 patients with severe burns who need surgery each year in addition to 7,500 burn patients who seek outpatient care.

“Almost all of the burns we see are preventable so we really encourage people to think about what they are doing,” said Dr. Foster.

According to the American Burn Association, if a piece of playground equipment is 140 degrees, second- and third-degree burns can occur in as little as three and five seconds, respectively.

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