Beware! Hidden Danger Could Be Lurking At Some Maine Playgrounds
Even though all of spring, and most of the first part of summer, was a literal wash, in recent weeks we have actually gotten some decent weather. I mentioned on the air a few days ago that it was kind of strange we actually had to mention that on a particular day we had to say that we were going to get "summerlike weather".
Now that we are actually getting hotter weather, your family has probably been anxious to get outside and enjoy summer in Maine. If you have younger kids, there is a good chance you have taken them to the playground at least a few times.
For generations, families have been enjoying traditional playgrounds. Swings, monkey bars, slide, and more. Of course, playgrounds have changed. They have become more accessible to children who are differently abled and the materials they are built with have changed. Instead of being made of wood and metal, they are now made of plastic and rubber covered metal.
Here in Maine, we are lucky to have hundreds of playgrounds. In Augusta alone, there are over half dozen. These playgrounds range in size from just a few swings and a slide to massive, sprawling "towns".
Scroll to the bottle of the article for a list of some of the best playgrounds in Maine
The Hidden Danger On Maine Playgrounds
While scaling a playground structure or sliding down a slide can be a lot of fun, it is important to keep in mind how hot some of this equipment can get. Think back to when you were a kid, especially if you are old enough to have had to deal with metal slides. Remember how you almost got seared every time you slid down a slide? Yeah, that's what we are talking about.
And, it is not all about the air temperature, either. In many cases, it is more about the amount of sun beating down on the structures. If it was 90 degrees and cloudy the playground equipment is not going to be that warm. However, if it were sunny and 80 that slide could be like a flat-top griddle.
Recently, Indiana TV station WRTV took some temperature readings at a playground. They found that a slide with a plastic protective coating had a temperature of nearly 140 degrees, the seat of a swing had a temp of 122 degrees, and the ground in the sun was nearly 160 degrees.
Keep in mind that it only takes contact with a 120 degree surface for a few seconds to cause a first degree burn.
What Precautions Should You Take?
The easiest way to keep your kids safe on the playground is to touch the surface of the equipment. Just like you used to do when you were testing the temperature of those baby bottles when the kids were infants.
Of course, the best thing you can do is use your best judgement. You are the parent or guardian. You know what's best for your kids.