AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- School is out for the summer which means more children will be headed to the park to play. With the temperatures rising, experts say the playground may not be the safest place.
When heading to the park parents should be mindful of the type of playground equipment their kids will play on whether it be metal or plastic. Those surfaces tend to heat quickly and can cause severe burns. If a child’s skin is exposed it could create what is called a contact burn which tends to occur when temperatures are in the 90s or above. Things like monkey bars or even swing sets can be dangerous for kids if they overheat. Assistant professor of medicine at Augusta University says the time of day that you take your kids to play is also important when protecting your child from burns or serious injuries.
“Obviously you’re going to have to get outside some, but the sun is going to be most damaging and the heat is going to be highest during those early afternoon hours. If you go out either during the early morning or later at night you’re going to have a safer window to be able to participate in,” Dr. Jedidiah Ballard says.When considering whether or not to take your kids out to play hydration is key. Ballard says to always keep a close water source nearby and to always keep children hydrated to prevent things like heatstroke.
“Heat stroke is an actual emergency and people can die from that and the way you can tell with that is if your child is hot and then not acting right. We call it altered mental status but that just means confused, more agitated then they should be. Any signs of not acting right in combination with being hot can be very dangerous and you need to get them to an ER right away,” Ballard told NewsChannel 6.
He says when dressing kids for outdoor activities they should wear loose and light colored clothing which will reflect off of the sunlight. Lastly you should always wear sunscreen before going out to play.
“Always using sunscreen on exposed skin generally about 30 SPF will be fine and one thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that all races can get sunburns and all races can also get skin cancer so it doesn’t really matter. Obviously a very pale Caucasian is going to burn faster but anyone can get injury form the sun,” Dr. Ballard says.
Ballard suggests before going out to play that kids spend time in an air-conditioned room to cool their body temperature before being exposed to direct sunlight.