Senator Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), Chairman of the Senate’s Social Services, Children and Families Committee, is calling for the formation of an emergency task force to evaluate the safety of the rubber mats used at city playgrounds following a public outcry that the mats’ surfaces can reach temperatures of 166 degrees in hot weather (reported HERE on YWN).
Most recently, a child was burned during Memorial Day weekend at Carl Shultz Park in Manhattan after he jumped down from the playground equipment and landed barefoot on the mat. He required hospitalization to treat his wounds. Last year, another child suffered similar burns at Van Voorhees Park in Cobble Hill.
Sen. Kruger noted that the problem is not a new one. A rash of complaints about dangerously hot mats prompted the City Council to hold hearings on the matter last year – but nothing was ever done to solve the problem, he said, not even posting warning signs alerting adults of the dangers of the scalding mats.
“It is galling that the city knows about this problem and refuses to take action,” Sen. Kruger said. “Pleading ignorance is one thing. Acknowledging that a danger exists to our children, and then ignoring that danger, is another matter entirely, and one that clearly requires intervention before painful injuries become more prevalent.”
Public reports indicate that playground surfaces have reached 166 degrees in the hot weather over the last week or so. According to Park Department Authorities, burns happen easily with any surface temperatures over 140 degrees, Sen. Kruger said.
Sen. Kruger said the emergency task force should spend 90 days conducting an investigation and then come up with a list of recommendations to address the problem. If this timeframe fails to produce results, he said, he will call on his Senate committee to hold its own hearings.
“We can photograph the surface of Mars but we can’t provide a safe surface for our children to play on? I find that very hard to believe,” Sen. Kruger asked.
(YWN Desk – NYC)