Asphalt is a material used to make many of the roads and sidewalks in your neighborhood. Asphalt can be very dangerous for kids, who might not understand the risks associated with this flat black substance.
This blog post will discuss some of the dangers of asphalt to children and why asphalt repair should be done ASAP.
What Is Asphalt?
The word asphalt comes from the ancient Greek asphaltos, which means bitumen. It was also a name for natural tar. Asphalt is a combination of gravel and stones, then heated to make it solid so people can use it as a road material in their cities.
Asphalt is not completely black. It has a dark brown coloring with other colors in it as well. It also comes from petroleum, or oil drilled deep beneath the ground through cryogenic drilling (sending liquid nitrogen to freeze water so that people can drill deeper).
Petroleum is then heated into bitumen at temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius, which turns into tar and is then heated further to make asphalt. The same way you melt chocolate bars in microwaves to harden them when they are put back in freezing temperatures, bitumen and tar become rock solid once more by being frozen again. Asphalt is used for many things, like flooring and roofs.
Dangers of Asphalt to Children
Asphalt is one of the most popular materials in roads and outdoor flooring because it is safe. It creates a good contrast to common road markers and helps reduce the risks of skids. It is also durable and easy to repair. Communities, commercial owners, and property owners also find this material economical or cheap.
But like other materials, it can also be dangerous to kids, especially when they’re exposed to it with minimal to zero supervision.
1. Skin Burning
A child can easily burn their feet by standing on asphalt, especially in the hot sun. Burning a foot that has suffered from a previous injury is even more painful and worse for the child.
A burn can happen in a matter of seconds by walking on the hot asphalt, but it doesn’t take much for the heat to reach your skin, either, like running around or jumping on the pavement.
Asphalt can burn the skin because of asphaltenes. These are soluble in lipids, so they become attracted to fats in the skins. Then, when they penetrate the bodies through the pores, they cause blisters and burn inside that can only be healed by antibiotics or ointments.
It’s normal for asphalt to crack, which can happen for a lot of reasons. These include poor driving skills and weak sublayer. It also shows signs of cracking due to natural wear and tear or bad installation.
A cracking asphalt might not need repair unless the damage is extensive or getting worse. Either way, though, children can get injured walking on a cracked road because of splinters.
Splinters appear when the roads crack and the small parts begin to break. Some include pointed edges that can create an open wound, allowing the particles to get buried deep. The cracks also hold objects such as small branches or dried leaves, which can also cause splintering.
3. Respiratory Problems
The anatomy of the child’s lungs is already the same as that of an adult, even if they’re still young. But why are kids more prone to significant allergic reactions and respiratory distress than, say, their older siblings or parents?
First, the number of air sacs among children is likely to be fewer than those seen in adults. Also known as alveoli, these are spaces that hold up oxygen, which humans need to function. Usually, their number increases only when the child reaches over six months old.
Second, the diameter inside the child’s airways is smaller, so any obstruction or inflammation can be dangerous to them.
Moreover, they are nose breathers and have high respiratory rates, which means they tend to breathe faster than older people. The chances of inhaling fumes like those coming from asphalt increase. In certain situations, this inhalation can lead to acute injury to the linings of the lungs.
Dangers of asphalt to children are real, and parents must make sure that the child is safe at all times when they are outside playing in the fresh air. They can prevent many dangers that come with running around on asphalt by making them aware of the dangers present, shutting off access to the asphalt, and repairing significant damage as soon as possible.