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Hot outdoor surfaces: danger!

2 February 2021

Children can be badly burned on hot outdoor surfaces in warmer weather. So early childhood services need to identify potential hazards and act to minimise the risk of harm.

Consider which outdoor surfaces are exposed to direct sunlight during hot weather and take action.

When exposed to direct sunlight in hot weather some surfaces and environments can become unsafe for children. These include:

  • artificial grass/turf
  • plastic and metal play equipment
  • rubber (e.g. tyres and impact-attenuating surfaces)
  • soft fall mats.

Actions to protect children from hot surfaces include:

  • conducting risk assessments
  • providing access to shade in play spaces
  • effective supervision strategies
  • communication between educators
  • being aware of daily weather conditions.

Conduct regular checks of outdoor surfaces and environments, especially on hot days. A simple test is for an educator to hold their hand on the surface. If they can do so comfortably for five seconds, it is fine. This will help identify potential hazards and minimise risk to children of serious injuries, such as burns.

Early childhood services should have clear policies and procedures for protecting children from harm and hazards. This is a requirement of the Education and Care Services National Law (South Australia), s. 167.

For further information:

Kidsafe SA provides factsheets on: