Ten tips for protecting children from tornadoes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) The news out of the South of deadly tornadoes is devastating. Weather forecasters say as many as 100 tornadoes could break out across the United States in the next few days. Severe weather does happen in Michigan, and there are ways to keep your family safe when it happens. Every family should take steps to be better prepared so everyone knows what to do when severe weather strikes. Here are ten tips for protecting children from tornadoes, courtesy of Save the Children:


  • Get ready and stay informed: when severe weather is predicted, monitor the news so you know if your area is at risk and when to take action. Plan now, before the weather gets worse.
  • Talk about tornadoes: discuss with your family why tornadoes happen and that they aren’t anyone’s fault. Explain what the signs are, since tornadoes can strike before an official warning is issued. Signs include dark, often greenish clouds, large hail, cloud of debris, funnel cloud, or roaring noise.
  • Learn your caregivers’ disaster plans: how does your children’s school or child care center respond to a tornado
  • Practice tornado drills with your family.


  • Seek immediate shelter in a tornado-safe room. The safest place in the home is the interior part of a basement. If you do not have a basement or storm cellar, take shelter in an interior bathroom, closet, or hallway on the lowest floor.
  • If outside or in a mobile home, seek cover in a designated shelter or sturdy building. If there is no building nearby, lie flat in a low spot, making sure it is not a drainage area that could easily fill with water. Use your arms and hands to protect your head and neck.
  • Wear a helmet for extra protection: families should always seek appropriate shelter first. However, wearing a helmet may provide additional protection since head injuries are common from tornadoes.


  • Stay informed after a tornado strikes by continuing to listen to a radio or television station for updates.
  • Involve children in recovery: after a tornado, include your children in cleanup activities if it is safe to do so. It is comforting for children to see the household return to normal and have a job to do.
  • Listen to children: if your family has been affected by a tornado, encourage your child to express feelings of fear. Listen carefully, show understanding, and offer reassurance.

The best way to stay safe is to be prepared. Get a plan in place and practice it with your family. For more information on how to prepare for a tornado, see Tornado Safety Tips from the American Red Cross. You can also download their app for lifesaving tornado safety tools and information right on your mobile device.

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