As parents, we do our best to teach our kids how to be safe and cautious in everyday life, but what about thunderstorm safety? Although the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 500,000, thunderstorms are more frequent during the summertime and children are playing outside a lot more.
As it turns out, lightning is one of the main causes of weather-related deaths in the United States. It also tends to strike people working outdoors or those partaking in outdoor activities. Think: your a child running around the playground or playing sports.
No one knows when it could strike and injury somebody, so share these tips with your children so they can be prepared for the next storm:
If they’re outdoors:
- Look at the Sky: Let them know that if they see the sky getting darker and darker, it may be time to head inside. If they hear thunder/see lightning, teach them the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, count to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, that means that it’s time to head inside. Do not go back outside for 30 minutes after you hear the last roar of thunder.
- Find a Place to Go: If they aren’t surrounded by a house for shelter, advise them to try to go behind a sturdy place like a building or a car. They should avoid picnic areas, sheds, bleachers and baseball dugouts because they are made of metal and concrete. If absolutely no shelter is available, they should crouch low with the smallest amount of their body touching the ground as possible.
- Stay AWAY from Water: Make sure your children know to stay very far away from water during a thunderstorm, as it’s a conductor for electricity. If they are near a pool, lake, or any other body of water, it is important to get away from the area immediately. Even puddles are considered a hazard, so make sure to stress that they should always be aware of their surroundings.
If they’re indoors:
- Don’t Use a Corded Telephone: It’s a strong possibility that lightning can strike exterior phone lines and travel directly to your phone line. Make sure your kids know to avoid using the phone at all costs if possible.
- Don’t Use Electrical Equipment: Electrical equipment, like computers and household appliances, are dangerous during a storm because they contain metal, which is another conductor of electricity. Encourage them not to surf the net until the storm is over.
- Stay Away from Windows and Doors: If they’re near a window or door, it is likely that lightning can pass through that weak barrier and strike them. Therefore, it’s best to tell your children to avoid them entirely during an intense storm.
- Avoid Showers: During thunderstorms, make sure your children know not to take showers or baths. Lightning can travel through pipes!
Thunderstorm safety should be taken very seriously. Keeping your kids informed is the first step in keeping them safe!