Dawna Wright had felt the playground apparatus before she allowed her daughter Asia into the area, but said she “didn’t realise how hot this particular slide was”.
The family had been enjoying the water in the splash park at John Anderson Park in Grandview, Missouri, so Asia was in her swimming costume when she ran over to join some other children on the plastic slide.
As soon as she sat on the slide, Asia’s skin burned and blistered, leaving her in immense pain with second degree burns.
“I’ve never heard her scream so bad,” Wright wrote on Facebook. “I feel so terrible. And there were babies playing all over the equipment and I put my hands on it. I had no idea that slide was hot enough to hurt her so badly.”
The park had signs warning that equipment may be hot and that proper attire needed to be worn while playing. When Wright returned to the playground with 41 Action News to check the temperature of the slide, they found it was 155F (68 degrees celsius) in the evening.
Wright said she wanted to share her warning with other parents to prevent another child going through such pain.
“I just assumed that it was safe because all these children were playing and they were playing just fine,” she told KSHB news. “Everybody says, ‘That wouldn’t be me, that wouldn’t be my child. I could never let this happen to my child.’ It could happen to you. It really could.”
Asia was treated in hospital, but almost a month after the incident she still has a scar and some discolouration from the burns.
“I’ve never in my life seen a slide do such horrible damage to a baby’s skin,” Wright wrote on Facebook. “I hope no parent ever makes my mistake and will always remember to check the slides.”
A UK mum has also previously warned about the danger of hot playground equipment. Lucy Brown, from Dordon, Warwickshire, told of how her toddler suffered painful burns when she placed her hands on a metal playground ramp that had hit 51C during a heatwave in 2016.
Eva was taken by ambulance to the burns unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital where medics applied cream and bandaged her hands.
Parents or guardians with very young or vulnerable children, are advised to be especially vigilant when using play areas in extremes of weather.
David Yearly, head of play safety for the Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents (RoSPA), told HuffPost UK that playground installers are advised that slides should not face due south or near due south, due to potential heat build-up.
“With regards to advice for parents, it is for parents to determine if a playground is safe for young children, who should be appropriately supervised during play,” he said. “The exceptional heat we’ve been having recently will heat up many surfaces, and not just playground slides, so it is important that parents and carers are alert to hot metal surfaces where children may be playing.”