EMSA Monitors Heat At OKC Playground

Sunday, July 27th 2014, 6:23 pm
By: News 9

Day 6 of this unbearable heat means the "heat alert" issued by EMSA remains in effect. On Sunday, paramedics showed us just how hot it's getting at local playgrounds.

“Sometimes unsuspecting children, they're excited they get out to the playground and running over to that cool slide,” said Jim Winham, the director of Clinical Services for EMSA.

During these hot days, though, kids find out that slide isn’t so cool. Winham monitored Quail Creek Playground in northwest OKC and found temperatures on the equipment reached 140 to 150 degrees. Areas in the shade were slightly less, by about 20 degrees.

“In the bright sunlight like this when it's extremely hot outside, metal surfaces, even dark plastic surfaces will absorb the heat and become very, very hot,” said Winham.

No playground is the same, but most of them are made from metal and plastics, two materials that conduct heat and worse, retain it. When the slides, swings and other equipment reaches those extreme temperatures, it can injure a child in a matter of seconds.

“You can have surface burns, maybe first degree burns,” Windham said.

Medics say to first test the equipment with your hands before allowing kids to play and don’t let your kids play in bare feet.

“We want you to have fun, we just want you to be careful, we don't want to meet you by accident.”

Children are more susceptible to the heat, so paramedics also say to keep them hydrated, use sunscreen and take plenty of breaks from the sun. Also, limit outside play to early morning and late evening hours.

Here are some extra precautions to take while in the heat:

· Take frequent breaks doing outdoor activity.

· Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to your body.

· Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.

· Dress infants and children in cool, loose light colored clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.

· Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours.

· Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.