Texas Tech University, USA
University of Guelph, Canada
When parents send their children off to school they expect them to spend their days in a safe and healthy environment. There’s plenty of evidence of how outdoor play promotes personal health and well-being, and access to a playground in an effectively designed space is a large component of being physically active. But not all playgrounds are as safe as they might appear. With canopy coverage lower than many city averages, children might be exposed to increased levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) that can lead to erythema (sunburn) and an elevated risk of skin cancer. In addition, surfaces that might look to the human eye to be cool and inviting can be extremely hot. These hot surfaces create two potentially dangerous conditions for children: burned skin from direct contact, and very high infrared radiation load that can increase the risk of hyperthermia.