Playground heat can lead to burns

Posted at 11:29 AM, Jul 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 14:39:17-04

SAN DIEGO (ABC) - San Diego’s heat wave can be painful for unsuspecting families heading to the playground.

ABC News spent the day with University of California San Diego biometerologist Jennifer Vanos.

She took temperature readings on slides and swings after hours in the sun. The swing measured 148 degrees. The plastic slide was 160 degrees. Even the rubber surface on the ground may be 170 degrees.

A drone equipped with thermal imaging technology showed the playground glowing yellow, indicating high temperatures.

“One of the things we’re starting to see is that some playgrounds within already hot cities are acting as mini heat islands,” said Vanos.

A child can get a second-degree burn in as little as three seconds with a temperature of 140 degrees. The situation is especially dangerous for babies and toddlers who can’t remove themselves from a hot surface.

Khara Sinclair found out that even mild days are dangerous. Her 22-month-old daughter Tynlee was burned on a slide in 72-degree weather.

“She screamed really loud and as I grabbed her, her skin stayed with the slide,” Sinclair said.

Vanos suggests having more shade at playgrounds, which can dramatically lower temperatures. She also recommends wood chips as an alternative to rubber surfaces.