Girl Gets Third-Degree Burns By Hot Playground Equipment

14-Month-Old Will Likely Need Plastic Surgery

Hot playground equipment is no child's play.

Just ask Jeni LaPlante of Loveland. Her 14-month-old daughter Annabelle now has a bandage wrapped around the entire lower part of her left leg.

Annabelle suffered third degree burns on her leg last week after kneeling on a playground platform. The burn extends from her knee to her ankle.

"It's been traumatizing for both of us," said LaPlante. "It happened in a split second. She's going to have a scar for life. Just for a trip to the playground."

Every summer dozens of children end up in the emergency room with similar burns.

North Metro Fire and 7NEWS tested some playground equipment in the metro area with a temperature gun on Tuesday.

The rubber mats made of recycled tires provide padding in case of a fall, but they appeared to reach the highest temperatures, soaring to well above 150 degrees.

"It's jumping into the 150s," said Wendy Forbes, spokeswoman for North Metro Fire/Rescue. "It's the duration and clothing. You need to have layers between you and the surface you're touching. No child should be running around here barefooted."

Forbes said although it's hot, socks and sneakers are a better option than sandals and flip-flops.

A 120-degree surface takes less than three seconds to burn a child's skin severely enough to require surgery.

Annabelle will likely need skin grafts.

"A lot of people don't know that the plastic and rubber-coated slides and equipment are just as dangerous as the metal ones," said LaPlante. "I just want to prevent another parent and child from having to go through this. It's very preventable."

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