Texas has hit our toasty triple-digit temperatures again this summer, so it’s a good time to remind moms and dads to take a few extra precautions to keep play equipment safe and fun for the kiddos. Here are a few things to check before your child starts to enjoy the playground.

  1. Equipment temperatures. A metal slide can easily cause severe burns, but parents should also be wary of plastic slides. Dark-colored plastics can absorb the heat. And for children 2 years old and younger, a child’s skin is more susceptible to burning because their skin is thinner and more delicate. A well-placed shade tree can go a long way to preventing slide burn. In a pinch, running cold water over the plastic slide can help cool off the surface quickly.
  2. Proper anchoring. If it’s hot enough to fry an egg, you can bet, that it’s hot enough compromise your points of contact with the ground. Texas summer conditions can cause cracking and warping of surface materials and equipment footings can start to wiggle away from their anchoring material with enough action. Give your play equipment a good shake to make sure that there’s no danger of tipping.
  3. Sun protection. It may seem counter intuitive to wear long-sleeved shirts or pants when it’s so hot outside, but the extra coverage they provide can help protect your child from sunburn better than any SPF on the market. Be sure that clothing is made from lightweight and breathable materials to keep it comfortable. Any remaining exposed skin needs sunscreen. Apply a high SPF, sweat-proof formula 30 minutes before going out to play. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours.
  4. Hydration. Just walking outside can work up a sweat when it’s this hot. Children are more prone to dehydration because their bodies don’t cool as efficiently as adults. Make sure to provide plenty of cool water and remind they kids to take a break to replenish fluids. Follow hard play sessions with a run through the sprinklers or a cool bath or shower to help lower body temperatures, and follow up with a hydrating snack.

Play time is essential for a child’s proper development, but summer heat can put a damper on outside activities. Follow these four simple tips to make summer play safer for your family.