Just because there's a heat wave in full effect doesn't mean that kids are deterred from playing outside. Which makes now as good a time as any for your annual reminder to, please, for the love of avoiding burns, make sure that children wear shoes in the playground—otherwise the disturbing second photo above could happen to your wee one's little piggies, and you could even face some fines.

As Geoffrey Croft of NYC Parks Associates notes, playgrounds and artificial turf fields can get very, very hot in this kind of weather: "Artificial turf fields can reach at over 170 degrees, temperatures on black rubber playground safety surfacing can reach over 160 degrees." Each year more than a dozen children are treated in the city's burn centers for injuries suffered on playground surfaces. And with the heat index today set to reach 104°, better to be safe than sorry. So! Here are some basic safety tips:

  • Avoid playgrounds with black safety surfacing, unless they have complete shade coverage.

  • Avoid metal surfaces like slides.

  • Avoid artificial turf fields in the sun.

  • Drink lots of liquids.

  • Use spray showers, pools and water features.

  • Seek shade.

  • Participate in non-strenuous activities.

In other words? Water and shade good, metal and turf bad. Stay cool out there!