Burning Hot: Heat Danger on the Playgrounds
Yes, even at local playgrounds - the hot weather is a problem. At first I thought this story was going to be a silly outcry to alarm parents and give us all one more worry. But as the mother of four children, this story definitely changed my approach to a hot summer day at the park! Like many moms, I tell my kids to keep their shoes on... but they can flip them off in just seconds. So now, more than ever... we will be looking for a park in the shade. As I found out the high temperatures can turn some equipment and surfaces red hot making it seriously dangerous for young children. On Thrusday afternoon, temperatures in NYC were baking at 95 degrees – everyone was looking to stay cool but still enjoy the first full day of summer. NYC Park Advocates were also at the park to warn parents that young children can be burned on their hands, feet, and legs by simply walking or playing on the hot surfaces. See the story here on 7Online with Meteorologist Amy Freeze
At 84th and East End on the Upper East Side at Carl Schurz Park kids were running through the splash pad and then fleeing the cool water in barefeet onto blazing hot surfaces. Parents realize the temperatures might but hot but Upper East Side parent Elizabeth Langston said she had no idea her child could get burned, “it’s so hot u could fry an egg! My littlest one took ger shoes off and quickly came back, it hurts.”
NYC Park Advocate Geoffrey Court says the close to 1000 NYC playgrounds all have equipment that is not tested for heat safety. “With temps like today, a small child can get a serious burn in seconds,” Court says as he clocked surface temperatures at 164 degrees on Catbird Playground. He says each year more than a dozen children are treated in the City's three burn centers for injuries suffered on playground surfaces – which doesn’t count the other burn accidents that might happen on a playground and then be treated at home, at the doctor or even the emergency room. It’s happening more often and more seriously than parents realize he says.
Here’s one tragic event. An Upper East Side child 18 month old William Casson (photo below) was in his barefeet burned at Catbird playground and suffered serious burns. See the story here on 7Online with Meteorologist Amy Freeze
Despite years of parents calling for the city to address this public health and safety issue, the city continues to install products that reach dangerous temperatures in warmer weather. The Parks Department spends tens of millions of dollars in playground renovations annually, but to date it does not test materials for the heat they may generate. The city relies on safety standards, in part, created by the American Society for Testing Materials, which also does not test for heat.
With the temperature expected to reach triple digits across the City again today, NYC Park Advocates offers the following tips:
1. Avoid playgrounds with black safety surfacing, unless they have complete shade coverage.
2. Avoid metal surfaces like slides.
3. Avoid artificial turf fields in the sun.
4. Drink lots of liquids.
5. Use spray showers, pools and water features.
6. Seek shade.
7. Participate in non-strenuous activities.
In case of emergencies, seek immediate medical treatment, or call 911.