Growing up, my friends and I spent a lot of time outdoors, even in the winter. One of our favorite things to do outside of sledding and having snowball fights this time of year, was playing on the frozen pond in the woods behind our houses. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing we’ve ever done but we tried to be careful and man, was it fun. For those of you who have kids who like to play outside when the temperatures drop, we’ve shared a list of tips from the folks at wikiHow to help you keep them safe when they’re playing on or near ice.
- Recognize the ice will never be completely safe: Conditions and unseen or unknown factors can make ice that had seemed safe suddenly dangerous. Therefore, be sure to take all precautions to avoid accidents and be ready to launch rescue plans should something terrible happen.
- Create an emergency safety plan: Always tell people where you’re going. Never go without a buddy. Be dressed in full cold weather attire. Wear a flotation device and carry an ice pick. Have warm dry clothes in a waterproof bag on hand to reduce the risk of hypothermia should you get wet. Pack an emergency kit that includes a blanket, hand and foot warmers, thick socks, tuques, and candles and matches.
- There are many factors that determine the safety of ice: Appearance, thickness, external temperature over a period of time and on the day, snow coverage, depth of water under the ice, body of water size, chemical composition of the water, local climate changes, and extent of ice are all important things to consider before getting out on the ice.
- Prefer ice that is checked by designated authorities regularly: Staff at resorts, clubs, or national parks or government officials may all be designated authorities. Checking should occur daily. Inquire about their procedures. Take necessary precautions even if the ice is deemed safe.
- Ask the locals: If you’re not familiar with the local landscape, ask a local for help. Drop into a local bait shop, ski store, or police or fire station to ask about danger and safe spots around the area.
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Take on the winter season and check out Rent It Today’s winter sports equipment for rent. You can rent snowboards, skis, snow boots, toboggans and more. If you head out to the local pond or ice rink, be sure to review the tips above to ensure a safe and fun winter skating session with your family and friends.