Eventually, tweens and teens reach the stage where they would rather canvass the neighborhood without any grownups tagging along. As they head out and about on Halloween to have fun with their friends, take time to talk with them about how to stay safe. Here’s what your son or daughter should know before heading out.
Choose a route: Make sure they know the major streets so they can find their way home. Explain to visit houses with lights on, and to never enter the house of someone they don’t know for any reason.
Talk about smartphone safety: If your teen has a smartphone, Halloween is the perfect time to have the extra talk about using these devices safely. Typing and scrolling while walking is a big no-no… especially on the roads after dark.
Drive safe: If they’re borrowing the car, remind your kids that Halloween is a time when it’s especially important to be vigilant while driving at night. That means absolutely no texting and driving. Make sure they budget extra time to get where they’re going, just in case the hordes of trick-or-treaters cause a traffic jam in the neighborhood.
Avoid the tricks: This one is trickier, because it’s not like your teenager is going to let you know if they’re up to some Halloween mischief – midnight pranks, vandalism or trespassing in a cemetery or abandoned house. Have a talk about the consequences and dangers, and consider a curfew.
Host a gathering: If you don’t want to wonder about them, consider giving your teens and their friends a safe place to socialize and hang out at your place. You can go all out with decorations, food and costumes… or it can be something more laid-back, like a backyard bonfire with marshmallows and warm drinks.
Staying on the safe side can help you make sure everyone enjoys this ghoulish time of year. Happy Halloween!
Something that seems scarier than it is? Letting your new teen driver head out on their own. Call an insurance professional like a Scott Lynch at (317) 886-0081 or visit us online at www.lynchagency.com.
Recognize and celebrate the strength and contribution of our young people around the world.
“The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance — all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres
“Safe Spaces for Youth”
Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth. Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence.
Ensuring that safe spaces are inclusive, youth from diverse backgrounds especially those from outside the local community, need to be assured of respect and self-worth. In humanitarian or conflict prone settings for example, youth may lack the space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Similarly, without the existence of safe space, youth from different race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background may feel intimidated to freely contribute to the community. When youth have safe spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.
This week marks Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Though disasters like hurricanes tend to get more attention during the summer months, it’s important to know how to stay safe from lightning. That’s because lightning presents serious dangers to both people and property.
Lightning safety and people Lightning can occur during any time of the year, but lightning casualties are highest during summer. July is generally the month with the most lightning. Lightning strikes often occur in the afternoon. Two-thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6 p.m. According to the National Weather Service, here are some more interesting facts:
Males are five times more likely than females to be struck by lightning; around 85 percent of lightning fatalities are men.
People aged 15 to 34 account for almost half of all lightning strike victims (41 percent).
About one-third (32 percent) of lightning injuries occur indoors.
Lightning safety and property From 2007 to 2011, local U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Home fires accounted for 19 percent of the lightning fires. Fires in nonresidential structures, including businesses and other non-residential properties, accounted for 7 percent. Vehicle fires accounted for 1 percent. The remaining 73 percent were in outdoor and unclassified properties.
How to avoid lightning There are important things to know when it comes to how to avoid lightning. Once you hear that first clap of thunder, remember to:
Postpone outdoor activities.
Heed the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
Get inside a home, building or automobiles with a hard top (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
You are not safe anywhere outside. Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. Do not shelter under trees.
If it’s not possible to get indoors or in a vehicle, these actions may reduce your chances of being struck by lightning:
Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lightning.
Stay away from water, wet items (such as ropes) and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Water and metal are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.
The vast majority of lightning injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats with NO cabin. It is crucial to listen to weather information when you are boating. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, do not go out. If you are out and cannot get back to land and safety, drop an anchor and get as low as possible. Large boats with cabins, especially those with lightning protection systems properly installed, or metal marine vessels, are relatively safe. Remember to stay inside the cabin and away from any metal surfaces. Stay off the radio unless it is an emergency.
When it comes to how to avoid lightning, you should also take precautions once you’re indoors:
Avoid contact with corded phones.
Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.
Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
Unplug electrical equipment
It’s important to prepare for natural and weather disasters. It’s also important to make sure you’re covered if something happens to your vehicle or home during a storm. Connect with the Scott Lynch Agency to make sure you have the coverage that’s right for you.