Indianapolis News and HeadlinesPublic Safety


How hot does playground equipment get? What parents should know

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 07:12:10-04

CARMEL — The heat can be dangerous for the smallest of Hoosiers.

With the sun beating down on playground equipment, it can get dangerously hot for kids.

Pediatricians say when it comes to playground equipment at 120 degrees, kids can get burned within minutes. When it gets to 140 degrees, they can be burned within seconds.

Screen Shot 2022-06-22 at 3.47.24 PM.png

"You go up, you touch the equipment. You touch the plastic, the metal. If it feels too hot for you, it's too hot for a child to be on," Dr. Risa Davidson, a pediatrician with Little Village Pediatrics said.

WRTV wanted to test just how hot playground equipment can get on a hot summer day.

  • Slide with a plastic protective coating, 139°
  • Swings, 122°
  • Teeter-totter seat 129°
  • The ground in shade, 117°
  • The ground in sun, 159°
  • Seat on playground equipment, 146°
  • The wet pavement on the splash pad, 62°

Davidson said kids can overheat quickly when playing outdoors.

"Finding shade is huge. We don't need to be in the direct sunlight all day. That's when kids start getting overheated and we start seeing problems develop," said Davidson.

Davidson said you should watch for the signs of heat-related illness in kids.

  • Irritability or fussiness
  • Complains of being dizzy or lightheaded
  • Stumbles
  • Complains of a headache or stomach ache
  • Vomiting

Davidson's biggest tip is to keep your children safe in the heat by staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen.

She also recommends removing extra clothing if your child starts to overheat. You can also use ice packs on their forehead, neck, groin, and armpits.