El Paso

City considering more canopies to eliminate 'hot playgrounds'

EL PASO, Texas - Parents beware when taking your child to the playground, even if that playground is made out of plastic surface.

The surface on plastic slides can be 10 degrees hotter than the actual temperature outside, and sometimes, temperatures on swings and playground handles can cause blisters on those who touch the surface.

Playgrounds are even hotter when there are no canopies covering them. 

Before 4-year-old Julia Carriollo could run around the playground at Memorial Park, her father Roberto tested the temperature on surface of a pole.

"It was a cloudy day so we took advantage of that to come to the park. But I was showing here that it wasn't safe to use that pole because it was so hot," said Julia's father, Roberto Carrillo.

So hot, in fact, that he got a blister on his hand,  which health experts say an indication of a second degree burn.

"It's really hot. She's not allowed to use the slides as well at this time," Carrillo added.

ABC-7 used a laser temperature gun to measure the temperature on the surface of the slide.

Although today's temperature was 93 degrees on this cloudy day, the temperature on the plastic slide was 103 degrees.  ABC-7 Meteorologist Kyle Hanson explains the darker the object, like the green metal poles seen in some city playgrounds, the hotter the object will be.

Right now, there are 122 playgrounds in the City of El Paso with no shade, and many with fabric canopies. The reason the parks and recreation department wants metal canopies rather than fabric, is because they last longer, and in the longer term, are cheaper.

City leaders are considering an ordinance that would make put a metal cover over future playgrounds to keep the surface cooler, and safer for children.

"Yes it was hot. It was hot," reaffirmed Julia.



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