Friday, July 10, 2009

Anyone with children MUST READ!!!

New playground surface proves to be too hot for toddler’s feet

(This happen to my cousin Lana's boy..he is actually the same one that was born the same day as Avery)

A 2-year-old Gillette toddler suffered second-degree burns to the bottom of his feet after he went barefoot on a recycled rubber playground surface last week.Christian Gaskins was playing at Dalbey Memorial Park near the restrooms after a picnic lunch June 29. His baby sitter was near as he ran on the grass. She was watching when his bare feet touched the rubber at the playground and he started screaming as the hot fabric seared his skin.It was just before 1 p.m. The temperature was in the 90s outside — one of Gillette’s hottest days this summer.White blisters immediately appeared on the bottom of Christian’s tiny feet.At the hospital’s emergency room, Christian was treated for second-degree burns and was given morphine to help ease his pain. The pain was so intense, he screamed for an hour straight, said his parents, Lana Randen-Gaskins and Cory Gaskins. For a couple of days, he couldn’t walk.Gaskins went to the park two hours after the incident and took the temperature of the rubber surface with a thermal image gun he had from work. The floor was a scorching 150 degrees.The baby sitter felt horrible, Randen-Gaskins said. The next day, the woman went back to the park to look for signs cautioning parents about the danger. There were none.“The worst part of it was my baby sitter is a very good baby sitter,” Randen-Gaskins said.At the emergency room, a nurse contacted the city, and parks supervisor Shay Lundvall came and spoke to the family. Randen-Gaskins said Lundvall told them that the city was looking into the incident and would be in contact with them. As of Tuesday evening, Gaskins said he hadn’t heard back from anybody with the city.Public Works Director Rick Staskiewicz said it was the first he’s heard of an accident of this nature occurring in Gillette’s parks. The city put the new recycled rubber surface down in the past two months, he said.
If the city officials had known about the safety risk the flooring poses in the summer heat, they wouldn’t have approved it for the park, Staskiewicz said.The city is investigating the matter and contacting the manufacturer of the recycled rubber floor mats. Staskiewicz didn’t know if a sign will be posted cautioning adults about the potentially hot surface.“We’re waiting to gather all our information at this time,” he said.Gaskins said he and his wife just want to prevent something like this from happening to other families.“That’s all I asked them to do. If nothing else just put up a sign,” Gaskins said.City Administrator Mike Muirhead said the city takes all citizen complaints seriously.“We’re looking into it. It’s no different than any other situation,” Muirhead said.The playground had tree bark on the ground before the rubber mat was installed, said city spokesman Joe Lunne.After the accident, the Gaskins searched on the Internet for “burns from playground surfaces or mats.” Thousands of results came up in other areas of the nation where the same thing had happened on hot days, Gaskins said. He read of one instance in which the playground mat was 175 degrees and the child had third-degree burns. The playground flooring was sticking to the child’s feet.Gaskins wonders why the city didn’t look into safety risks before they allowed it for the playgrounds.Randen-Gaskins wants to spread the word about the rubber flooring — something neither she nor her baby sitter had heard of or thought about. Even if people hear just once about it happening, they will become more aware, she said.“I just think a piece of it is reading about it and then thinking, is it too hot for my child?” she said. “My son’s feet will probably have scars on them. We were lucky that it was just his feet.”Kids fall at the playground all the time. Had that happened, it could have been Christian’s face, Randen-Gaskins said.Christian’s baby sitter did a great job handling the accident, Gaskins said. She responded well. If she hadn’t put cold water on his feet right away, it might have been worse, he said.Christian’s feet are healing. His feet are still peeling and could be for another week. Right after the accident, every two days Christian went back to the doctor for the blisters to be popped, cleaned and re-bandaged, Gaskins said. Twice a day, he changes his son’s bandages.Except for his bandages, he’s back to being a normal 2-year-old. However, he’s now reluctant to take off his shoes when he goes outside, Gaskins said.“My whole point is not to place a blame,” Randen-Gaskins said. “My concern is that it doesn’t happen again.”

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