How do I avoid static electricity ?

When my son is at the playground especially on the slides I get a static electricity shock. Are there any tricks to avoid this?

Spray him down with Static Guard. No, really. It works by providing a partially conductive path for charge to dissipate through; water can do the same thing, which is why you tend to get static zaps from carpeting indoors more in the winter, when the air is very dry inside, than in the summer. The problem with water is that it dries up very quickly.

I have no idea what that is…

Static Guard

Another tip: It’s not the current that hurts, it’s the arc through the air. So when you’re about to touch something that you think might give you a shock, get a coin or a key or some other metal object out of your pocket, hold that, and use it to touch the thing. The arc will hit the key instead of your finger, and the key can’t feel it.

This might be of limited usefulness for picking up your kid at the bottom of the sliding board, but it works great for doorknobs and the like.

Or try using fabric softener. I once worked at a (cheap) electronics startup with inappropriately plush carpeting. They occasionally misted the carpets with Downy, and it seemed to work!

I’m not sure softener or any clothing treatment will help if there’s no path to ground; i.e., if it’s a plastic slide. It might reduce the shocks, though.

Hmmm. What if you just wore anti-static treated gloves? If it’s cold enough outside, you might not look too much like a TV villian.

Dress him like this.

Hmph, when I was a kid, my parents would never take static from me…

Make sure he is wearing cotton clothes. Avoid wool, polyester, nylon, and fur.

And yeah I realize most boys aren’t running around on the playground wearing fur and nylons, but other people might find the advice in this thread useful as well.

That’s what I do at work. In winter I constantly get shocks when I get up from my chair and touch the metal safe. I keep a paper clip handy and use that to touch it first.

Does wearing rubber shoes / boots help? :confused:

Or is that lightning? :eek:

Nope. Doesn’t help with lightning, either.

My sons regard zapping daddy at the bottom of the slide as the best, most funnest part of the whole thing. They’d be decidedly annoyed if I did something to stop it.

When I was a kid, we had metal slides. No static. We didn’t get to zap daddy. :frowning:

And absolutely, positively avoid acryllic (pun retroactively intended). I have an acryllic shirt that I like a lot, but when I take it off, it lights up the room from all the sparks.

For ordinary static buildup, rubber shoes might actually make things worse: “Static” means that the charge isn’t moving; it can build up much more easily on an insulator than on a conductor (which could easily drain excess charge away). And as for lightning, air is a better insulator than rubber, and a lightning bolt has already passed through a mile of air before reaching you. Compared to a mile of air, your shoes are nothing.

In my college physics book it shows a picture of a car getting struck by lightning. A bolt from the sky to the car and another bolt from the hubcap to ground. The caption was basically the same as what you said. People think they won’t get struck by lightning while in a car because the rubber tires provide insulation from ground, but if lightning found it’s way all the way from the sky to you, it can manage to go from your car to ground. You are actually safe(ish) because the charge will travel along the outside of the car.