THE BRONX - They offer a good alternative to sitting in the house all summer, but neighborhood playgrounds don?t always represent the best option for kids looking to cool off.

Parents say the equipment and the ground kids play on both get extremely hot as the mercury rises. According to some parents, more than a dozen barefoot kids get burned each year.

City park advocates took a temperature reading of the surface at Mill Brook Park, which read 144 degrees.

Some children say their bare feet sometimes turn red when they hit the rubber mats under the slides. In an effort to keep cool, some parents turn the playgrounds into water parks.

?We have to pour water on [the slide] before the kids come off it, we pour water so they don?t get their butts burned,? says one parent.

Parents say the best way to stay safe is to have children wear regular shoes or water shoes at all times.