This mum realised an alarming truth about playground dangers after her daughter suffered second-degree thermal burns...
Playgrounds are designed to be safe spaces for kids to laugh, explore, and simply be kids. But parents still need to be careful, as there are playground dangers that could be hiding in plain sight.
A mum shared how her toddler, Ariadne, suffered second-degree thermal burns by simply playing on a yellow plastic slide in an Idaho playground.
Stephanie Luker shared her alarming experience with local news channel KETV Omaha, hoping to warn other parents about playground dangers we often overlook.
“When I got home I was wiping her hand off to look at it and cleaning if off I saw that it had blistered up on her fingers,” she says in the interview.
“My daughter is red haired and fair skinned, so we have always been aware of sunburn, but not this,” she told Good Housekeeping. “I see a lot of parents, myself included, just let kids go be kids and not worry about checking slides or other play equipment.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened.
Back in 2015, Dionne Whitehead of Salt Lake City, Utah shared how her then three-year-old was burned by a plastic slide.
Because of the scary experience, she learned that a slide can burn kids in just about 10 to 15 seconds, especially since her little one was only a toddler. The incident happened during the hot summer months.
How to keep your child safe from playground dangers
Plastic slides are commonplace in playgrounds around the world. They come in non-threatening bright colours, with no sharp edges. They’re basically designed to be child-proof.
When thinking about possible playground dangers, the plastic slide is not the first thing that comes to mind. But they can be just as dangerous as metal slides, especially when exposed to prolonged heat.
What’s more, plastic in darker colours tends to burn easily “because they absorb more of the sun’s wavelengths than lighter colours,” senior textiles analyst Lexie Sachs explains to Good Housekeeping, adding how plastic can cause burns even when the weather is mild.
Here’s how to keep your child safe from burns and other playground dangers.
- Don’t allow them to use metal equipment that does not have proper coating.
- Make sure swings and other equipment kids sit on isn’t too hot.
- Beware of asphalt and concrete surfaces around the playground.
- Supervise your kids when they climb, swing, or jump.
- Check equipment for hazards like broken or rusted parts. Report immediately.
- Make sure to remove necklaces, scarves, or strings that can get entangled. These could become strangulation hazards.
- Make sure their form of play is appropriate for their age: those under the age of five can’t play with bigger kids.
- Bucket-shaped swings are good for babies around nine months old, or until they can sit up with support.
- If a playground has concrete, grass, asphalt or gravel, avoid it. Surfaces should be impact-absorbing, like rubber mats or sand.