After her daughter sustained a thermal burn from a plastic slide, Idaho mom Stephanie Luker is warning other parents about the dangers of playground equipment in hot weather, Good Housekeeping reports.
When Luker's daughter Ariadne got off a slide at the park, Luker was alarmed to see that her hands were red. Ariadne was complaining about the pain, and Luker found blisters on her hands as she washed them. So, she called the doctor, who informed her that Ariadne had a second-degree burn.
"My daughter is red haired and fair skinned, so we have always been aware of sunburn, but not this," Luker 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."
The park's metal slides had already been removed because kids had gotten burned on them, but Luker didn't know plastic could have the same effect. "I just kind of wanted to let other people know that even on the plastic slides here, kids can get burned," she told KETV Omaha.
She's right, according to textiles analyst Lexie Sachs: "While people anticipate metal to get hot in the sun, plastic can get hot enough to cause burns, too — especially darker colors, because they absorb more of the sun's wavelengths than lighter colors," she told Good Housekeeping. (But the slide Ariadne slid down was yellow, according to the Idaho State Journal, so no color is exempt.) "Even on days when the weather is mild, plastic can get heated by the sun and cause burns," Lachs added. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 10 thermal burns between 2001 and 2008 came from nonmetal materials like plastic and rubber.
To stay safe in the heat, the the CPSC suggests avoiding certain playground equipment, including metal equipment without heat‐reducing coating, dark rubbers and plastics, and concrete and asphalt surfaces. It's also best for kids to avoid sitting on anything, whether that's a slide or a swing.