Bay Area parents warned about hot playground equipment

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Over the smoldering hot weekend, lots of families took their kids to the park. But it turns out that playground equipment may not be as safe as you think.

You won't find metal slides on most modern playgrounds, but it turns out metal isn't the only material that can cause thermal burns.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, playground equipment can pose a risk to children whenever it's in direct sunlight for an extended period of time.

Equipment at a playground in Walnut Creek over the weekend was up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a thermal imaging camera, inspectors are able to measure the temperature.

Tirso de Ubago is a certified infrared inspector with Castle Rock. Using an infrared thermal imaging camera, he helped ABC7 News measure the temperature of playground equipment. "If a child decides to climb up the ladder, they could get burned hands," de Ubago said.

Lighter colored equipment is less dangerous, but still very hot. "It looks more shaded," said de Ubago. "But she's still going down a 110 degree to 106 degree slide."

Officials say equipment tends to be 20 degrees hotter than the temperature outside.

Rubberized surfaces also get very hot and reach at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

The results are surprising to a mother named Amanda Pinkham who was at a playground with her son Walker. "You really don't hear people talking about it not the way you hear about sunscreen," she said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns a young child's skin is more susceptible to thermal burns. Also, some children haven't learned to react to heat by removing themselves from hot surfaces.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.