Outdoor play is an important activity that improves physical and mental health. As children in NSW return to school today, it is important to be aware that high temperatures are a risk for children, as their capacity to self-observe and self-regulate their behaviour is underdeveloped.
As a consequence, outdoor play on hot days can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat rashes and other conditions that can pose serious health risks. Additionally, play equipment exposed to direct sunshine can reach extreme temperatures which may result in severe burn injuries to feet, legs and hands.
In March 2020, Cumberland City Council partnered with Western Sydney University (WSU) to research and develop innovative ways to make playgrounds safer for families and children during hot weather. It involved retrofitting Memorial Park Playground at Merrylands to improve thermal comfort and reduce ultraviolet radiation (UV).
The project demonstrates a cost-effective method to retrofit existing playgrounds to be UV safe and heat smart. Cost savings will be realised through the construction of the shade structure that can be relocated to and adjusted for the next playground once the newly planted trees provide shade.
Transforming a playground into a UV Smart Cool Playground as a prototype for other playgrounds
This project was funded by the NSW Government’s Increasing Resilience to Climate Change grants with support from LGNSW.