Children love to play at playgrounds that offer activities that keep their bodies and minds active and healthy. It is a great way for kids to socialize and exercise. Parents need to be aware of burns associated with playgrounds and need to consider shade structures when choosing a playground. Shade structures are a great way to keep children cool and prevent burns.
Sunburns are a common problem in children. The younger the child, the more likely a sunburn is to occur. Most parents remember to apply sunscreen to their children on the beach or while swimming, but it is much easier to forget to apply sunscreen regularly during normal daily activities such as going to a playground or park. Choosing a playground with shade shelters will help parents and children to be able to prevent burns from the sun and will reduce the risk of sunburns.
It is now widely understood that adults who developed sunburns as children are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Multiple sunburns and severe sunburns increase the risk for a child developing skin cancer as an adult. Some skin cancers, such as melanoma, can require surgery, cancer treatments, and are potentially deadly. Parents should closely follow sunscreen instructions for application and reapplication, and select playgrounds with shade shelters that cover playground equipment to prevent sunburns.
Children can develop another lesser known form of burns while playing on a playground. Second and third-degree burns commonly occur on playground equipment that is not in the shade. A child can slide down a hot slide or come into contact with the nuts and bolts that secure the playground equipment together and easily develop moderate to severe burns. When metal or other materials such as plastic are exposed to direct sunlight for extensive periods of time, they can heat up well over 120-degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over 120 degrees can burn a child’s skin. Children are not aware of the dangers of hot objects, so we must prevent those objects from becoming hot in the first place. That is why it is so important to choose a playground with shaded equipment.
Choosing playgrounds with a structure built to shade play equipment is the best way to prevent burns from playground equipment. Equipment and toys that aren’t protected by shade are likely to become hot. A child should always have emergency care for third degree burns. Second or third degree burns can also lead to additional illness if the child develops an infection from the burn. Contact your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s burns.
Prevention of burns is easiest way to keep your child healthy. When you take your child to a playground, always seek one that has a structure that shades the equipment from the hot sun. Children are very active and constantly touch equipment that can reach very high temperatures. Many larger parks and playgrounds offer shelter structures and shade in order to protect children from equipment burns and heat. If your local park doesn’t offer shaded play areas, speak to the park manager about getting shade structures built.