South Australian Regulatory Authority gives tips on hot weather danger spots
South Australia’s Regulatory Authority, the Education Standards Board (ESB) has reminded providers of the danger of children becoming badly burnt on hot outdoor surfaces in warmer weather, cautioning that early childhood services need to identify hazards and act promptly to minimise the risk of harm.
Outdoor surfaces which are exposed to direct sunlight during hot weather are especially at risk. When exposed to direct sunlight in hot weather some surfaces and environments can become unsafe for children, including:
- artificial grass/turf
- plastic and metal play equipment
- rubber (e.g. tyres)
- soft fall mats.
A number of actions can be taken to protect children from hot surfaces such as:
- conducting risk assessments
- providing access to shade in play spaces
- effective supervision strategies
- communication between educators
- being aware of daily weather conditions.
In order to minimise risk, providers should conduct regular checks of outdoor surfaces and environments, particularly on hot days. Doing so will help to identify potential hazards and minimise risk to children of serious injuries, such as burns.
Clear policies and procedures should be in place to protect children from harm and hazard, in line with Education and Care Services National Law (South Australia), s. 167.
Kidsafe SA has produced a number of factsheets to support services in protecting children from harm and hazard in the context of hot weather, such as ‘Shade in playspaces’, ‘Slides’, ’Playground surfacing’ and ‘A risk-management approach’.
Further information about protection of children during hot weather may be found here.