These red hot temperatures can cook an egg on a sidewalk. Imagine how hot the surface of a slide or swing can get.  Experts are paying closer attention to kids getting burns on playground equipment.  

At Lansdowne Park, the new playground is pretty cool, except today.

‘This is hot!’ says 11-year-old Owen Waldman as he jumps from one plastic play pod to another with his 8-year-old brother Julian.

The two brothers are doing the hot foot dance as they try to keep their bare feet from burning on the plastic playground equipment.

On a hot day like this, the materials at the park retain heat, and then give it back to whoever is on it.

‘Very, very hot,’ says Owen, ‘It burned my feet.’

To give you an idea of what Julian and Owen were talking about, we took an infrared thermometer to the park to test the equipment.  The support beam holding up the slide registered 39 degrees celcius.  The slide the boys were going down registered about 46 degrees.

The rubberized mat, used for the play surface of the park instead of sand, registered about 53 degrees.

According to research, skin can burn on a surface at about 40 degrees celcius. In fact, kids have been burned on playground equipment.  A little boy in North Carolina was on the monkey bars at school when his hands blistered up.

‘Yeah, it was like my skin coming off,’ he said, showing the blisters on his hands.There are similar stories out of Calgary and Toronto this summer.

‘Hot surfaces are always a concern for the playground industry,’ says Rob Lockhart, the International Sales Director with Dynamo Playgrounds.  Dynamo is a local company that specializes in the manufacture of non-traditional playground equipment, using ropes and nets and aluminum-based swings that don’t absorb heat the same way traditional swings do. Lockhart’s advice is for parents or caregivers to feel equipment first before their kids use it.

‘Now this surface is warm,’ he says, as he touches a Dynamo swing, ‘but it’s not uncomfortable so I know it’s safe for a child to be on it.

‘This one,’ he says of a traditional plastic slide, ‘happens to be facing the sun.  It is the hottest surface we've found in the park so far so I don't want to keep my hand on it.  In fact, I wouldn’t slide on this right now.’

That traditional slide by the way registered about 47 degrees compared to the new aluminum seated swing that was 20 degrees cooler. Lockhart says the materials play a big role in the safety of the equipment.

Those steel slides that many of us grew up with retain heat the most.   The molded slides, Lockhart says, depend on the color.  The darker colors, for both slides or swings, will be the hottest.