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Keeping kids cool and safe on the playground

Parents were trying to beat the heat by taking their kids out early to Elmwood Park Monday
6 News is On Your Side with a reminder for parents on the dangers of the heat.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 6:19 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A reminder for parents on the dangers of the heat: It can be extra tough on kids if they’re playing in the sun for too long. If they’re playing at a park, the playgrounds can be a serious hazard.

On Monday parents were trying to beat the heat by taking their kids out early to Elmwood Park.

“The humidity is the hard part because you can’t avoid the heat in the shade,” says parent Emily Smoke.

But many stuck to the shady areas of the playground, even at 10:30 in the morning.

“We try to come in the mornings or if we know it’s going to be cooler. We usually don’t come out to the park in the heat of the afternoon just because it’s so hot,” says parent Kate Rahel.

Most of the play equipment at Elmwood is plastic, but these structures can still become very hot in the sun. If it gets hot enough, it can cause burns on the skin.

“Remember the surfaces of some of the things they’re playing on at the playground are going to be hot and if there’s an asphalt surface or any kind of surface like that, be aware of bare feet on those,” says Phil Rooney, Douglas County Health Dept.

But as the day goes on the play equipment only gets hotter.

“For some reason they always make these swings black, which just absorbs heat so you always have to check,” says parent Nick Blakely.

At the same time playing in the heat can be exhausting.

“One thing I’ve noticed with a toddler is he isn’t able to realize he’s too hot or dehydrated before it happens. So I feel like I have to be watching out for the signs,” says Smoke.

That’s why it’s important to be proactive as a parent.

“Make sure that your kids are properly hydrated. That means drinking a lot of water. That may not be their favorite drink but that’s really what they should drink for this,” says Rooney.

Douglas County Public Health says if you start to notice your child becoming overheated, get them to a cool spot and make sure they drink water. Make sure they’re also wearing a hat and sunscreen when they’re outside.

Signs of heat exhaustion may include shortness of breath, clammy skin, and feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

If your child suffers any burns from equipment, seek medical help right away.

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