We're enjoying a few cool evenings here in the Tennessee Valley, but the heat of the summer is right around the corner. It's a good time for parents to be on guard while on the playground. Soon the equipment your children will be using will heat up, increasing the risk of burns. 

Deputy Chief John Combes of Hamilton County EMS says parents, teachers, and counselors can help by checking equipment.

"They need to themselves touch the metal equipment and see how hot it is for their child," says Combes.

Equipment made of plastic or painted metal stays a little cooler, but it can still be hot to the touch if in direct sunlight. So, find a playground with some shade.

"If you look around, a lot of the playground equipment are under trees now, or near trees," adds Combes.

Whether plastic or metal, lack of shade can lead to first degree burns. So on summer days take your children to play early in the day or in the evening when the equipment isn't as hot.

"If the sun's hitting it directly, I wouldn't doubt it couldn't get up to 100 degrees," says Combes. "So you really need to be careful."

Also, make sure your children always wear shoes at the playground. Feet can get burned just as easily as hands.

Combes also says to listen to your children. They'll usually let you know if they're uncomfortable.

"If the kids touch it and say, Mommy that's too hot, Daddy that's too hot, then you know it's too hot," states Combes.

He says if your child does get burned, call your doctor right away.

"The doctor can tell them whether they need to go to the emergency room or go over the counter and buy ointment," says Combes.

For more information on playground safety, visit the National Program for Playground Safety.