LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - As we head into some of the hottest days of the year, parents may not be thinking about how that heat can impact area playgrounds and in turn the children that use them.
In these summer months, equipment like the slides and swings can exceed temperatures of 150 degrees.
"We can have days that are over 100 and during the middle of the day can become extremely hot, enough to cause first and second-degree burns on the playground,” said pediatrician Dr. Laura White.
No one wants to touch metal or plastic that is scalding hot, especially an unsuspecting child. That's why Dr. White said it's particularly important to keep kids away from the extreme heat.
"Their skin is more fragile and the surface area is smaller so the percentage affects them more,” White said. “It's definitely a bigger problem than if it were an adult or a teenager."
Dr. White said avoiding hot playgrounds is as simple as heading out to play earlier in the day. But she said if you are taking your kids out in the afternoon, there are precautions you can take.
"If you see that some of the equipment is metal, go over there and touch it first before they climb up there and go down the slide,” White said. “If it is, try to go somewhere else. Just stay away from it. I would just definitely check it, just like you would if you were giving your kid a bath. You're going to test the water to make sure it's not too hot. Just like with the equipment, touch it and make sure it's not too hot for them."
Hydration is also a key to staying safe in the summer heat, as Dr. White said you should make sure to hydrate before you ever head out to the playground.
"Don't wait until they're saying they're thirsty,” White said. “Once they're reporting their thirsty, they're already becoming dehydrated. So that's the most important thing."
A lot of playgrounds are just roasting in the sun all day, so Dr. White said parents may want to look for playgrounds that have some trees that can offer some shade.