Playgrounds can cause third-degree burns during the summer heat

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - An infrared thermometer reads between 130 and 150 degrees on a plastic playground slide. There are still metal slides in Wichita Falls that can get as hot as 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

"A second-degree burn starts at about 125 degrees Fahrenheit and a third-degree burn can start at 150 degrees with as little contact as two seconds," Medical Doctor Jeremy Sautner said.

The time it takes to slide down.

"That could be a third-degree burn along the entire backside of their legs," Sautner said.

He said that kind of burn may result in a trip not just to the ER but the burn center. These burns are more likely on a metal slide.

"Plastic generally doesn't get as hot. The properties of a metal slide or the metal jungle equipment take a lot more solar radiation and stores it a lot better," Sautner said.

Director of Parks and Recreation, Jack Murphy said they have about 44 playgrounds throughout the city and some are still metal.

"They're durable and the do last," Murphy said."Playgrounds have been around plus 70 years and some of the oldest ones are all steel. Many of them still have utility and we keep those."

It has been five years since the city installed a new playground due to budget shortfalls. A new playground cost about 30 thousand dollars. But a new one with a canopy overhead will be discussed at the August 1 city council meeting.

"We do hope in time to have more covered playgrounds which would avoid some of the hot heating injuries that could happen," Murphy said.

Sautner said the best thing for parents to do is to touch the surface with the back of their hand. If it's too hot to touch it's too dangerous.

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