Why you should never let your child play outdoors in a thunderstorm

It's best to keep your kids indoors during heavy rain.

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Kids love rainy weather. Who can forget the absolute joy of running about in the rain or splashing in muddy puddles? But, parents, don't forget there are some hidden dangers that come with rain: diseases, floods, and, very rarely, lightning strikes. Take the recent case of a little boy boy who was nearly killed after playing in the rain during a thunderstorm, reminding us of the precautions to be taken during rainy season. 

When Playing in the Rain Turns to Disaster

Lightning occurs naturally and frequently in the rainy season: whether before, while it rains, or even after the rain has ceased.

If struck by lightning, one can suffer some serious damage to organs like the heart, skin, skeletal muscles and the nervous system. Death by lightning strikes is uncommon but is caused when the heart's beating ceases. 

Recently, a video doing the rounds on social media highlights the very real risks of allowing our kids to play in the rain.

The video, filmed by an Argentine mum, shows her young son playing in heavy rain while holding an umbrella and wearing a raincoat.

However, when he runs into the backyard, a lightning bolt suddenly strikes nearby, nearly claiming his life. 

You can first see the boy having fun in the rain. He is videoed standing under a roof drainpipe, with rainwater gushing onto his umbrella.

Not long after, he can be seen running into his backyard, to continue his rainy day fun. 

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Suddenly, without warning, a powerful bolt of lightning strikes a fence just barely a few metres ahead of the little boy. The fence catches fire.  

At this point, Carolina Kotur, the boy's mum, screams out loud, dropping her phone and running towards him. The video is then cut short.

According to Ms Kotur, she was videoing her son to record memories of him having fun in the rain, but of course, she never expected lightening to strike so close to him. Thankfully, her son is safe, as she is quoted saying "Thank God nothing happened to him.”

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Here's the full video below. (Warning: distressing content and bright lights. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Precautions to be Taken During Rainy Season

Such unfortunate incidents occur because of the lack of parental knowledge about the dangers of playing outdoors during a thunderstorm or the monsoon season.

Here are a few safety tips to teach you children so that they can be safe from lightning strikes, even if they are usually rare. 

When Outdoors:

  • Find some shelter. If you're already outside and realise a storm is on the way or if you've just heard the weatherman, head for safety! Make sure to find a secure spot to shelter you from the bad weather. 
  • Remember the 30-30 rule. 30 = safety. After seeing lightning, count to 30! When thunder claps before you reach 30, find shelter and stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after the last roar of thunder.
  • Crouch. No shelter? No worries! Crouch as low as possible, minimising body contact with the ground. Lightning can cause deadly electric currents over 100 feet away.  
  • Avoid concrete. Concrete walls or floors can conduct lightning if they contain hidden metal. 
  • Gear up. Don't forget your umbrellas, raincoats or jackets and boots! Check out some more equipment here.

While Indoors:

  • Choose to stay at home. If you were just about to leave, but you were alerted by the weatherman that a thunderstorm is on its way, stay indoors and reschedule your plans for some other day. 

  • Be wary of water. Avoid contact with water because lightning has the ability to travel through plumbing.  

  • Remember that electricity is your enemy. Steer clear of of electronic equipment and landline phones because lightning can travel through these systems as well. Cordless or cellular phones are a-okay!

Need some inspiration while waiting for the rain to go away? Why not try some great indoor ideas as mentioned in our previous article!

 

References: feedytv, New York Post, ViralHog

Also Read:

9 tips to help you protect your kids from germs this rainy season

Flood safety tips: How to keep your family safe in flash floods

Mum of two struck by lightning as a child, shares her story

Prepare your child for rainy school days