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From garden hoses to playground equipment, hot weather poses injury risks for kids

Posted at 9:03 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 00:07:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A picture is making its rounds on social media and news outlets across the nation. It shows a little boy who was badly burned by scorching hot water from a garden hose.

It happened in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, but the photo is resurfacing this summer as a painful reminder for parents.

Utah doctors say it's just one of a handful of hot hazards they see in the summertime.

"I thought he was crying because he was mad, because he hates when he gets sprayed in the face, I didn't think that it was burning him,” said Dominique Woodger, who accidentally sprayed her son with scorching water from a garden hose in 2016.

Pictures show second-degree burns covering her 9-month-old son’s body. The painful images going viral are a warning to parents of how hot and dangerous water simply sitting in a hose can be on a summer day.

“Hot water can burn like fire,” said Annette Newman with the University of Utah Health Burn Center.

According to doctors, a hose sitting in the sun can reach 130-180 degrees.

“Incredibly hot, causes a lot of injury in a short period of time,” Newman said.

That's something doctors at the University of Utah see firsthand. Scorching hot water can cause second-degree burns in a matter of two seconds after the water hits a child’s thin, sensitive skin. It's a very painful experience and recovery.

“Even the air passing across those nerve endings can be really painful, especially for a small child that doesn't understand what's going on,” Newman said.

Those at the burn center say the hot summer sun brings a lot of other dangers, too. Even a trip to the playground can turn into a trip to the doctor’s office, and that’s because of how hot the equipment can get.

A slide in Salt Lake City Wednesday was 170 degrees.

“The big note to parents is to test the equipment, to touch it to make sure it's not too hot,” Newman said.

While a lot of the playgrounds are empty on a hot summer day, the campgrounds are crowded. Doctors say they often see cases of children falling into hot coals after a fire is put out.

“The first thing the little guys do is they toddle up to this fire pit, and while flames aren't visible, fires can stay hot for 12 hours,” Newman said.

The other burn danger is when fireworks go off.

“Sparklers are as hot as a blow torch; they get to about 1,800 degrees, and we give them to two and three and four and five-year-olds,” Newman said.

All tragic situations doctors have seen, and almost all could have been prevented.

“They're devastating, they're life changing,” Newman said.

For more tips on burn prevention and treatment, click here.