Ice Safety

February 12th, 2013 posted by Donald A. Davis

by Donald A. Davis

It’s that time of year again when most of the country is getting hit with some extreme cold weather. This brings some very challenging situations. On the other hand, it brings some very tempting fun for our children.

Frozen Lakes and Ponds:

You can read the stories all the time: “Two Children Drown After Falling Through The Ice”. How can this happen? What can I do to help prevent this from happening to my child? As a child growing up on a lake, I know the games we played and the temptation we gave into. Here is a list of games we played and the drowning dangers that existed:

1. ICE HOCKEY – We often checked the cove to determine if it was safe for us to skate. The cove was the sheltered inlet of the lake that always froze first. We could usually see how thick the ice was. One of us would walk out on the cove, stop for a second or two, and then walk out further. Sometimes we would jump up in down to assure each other it was safe. When we all were satisfied with our visual observation and the “walk” test, we played hockey.

The Danger:

Although we did test the cove, we often skated out further onto the lake. When the hockey puckgot by us, we became at risk. If the hockey puck went out further onto the lake, a place we hadn’t checked for safety, one of us would lie on our stomachs to distribute our weight and crawl out to get it. Just think, as kids, we risked our safety for a hockey puck that cost less then one-dollar.

2. RUN AND SLIDE: As with ice hockey, we checked the safety of the ice by looking at it and then walking on it. Then, one by one, we would start running as fast as we could from several yards on land, step on the ice, and slide as far as we could. The goal was to see who could slide the furthest.

The Danger: When a child runs as fast as they can and then steps onto ice, there is no way of determining how their balance will be. There were two risk factors here. The fist one was losing balance as soon as you step on the ice, falling back, and cracking your head on the ice. The other risk factor is the same as the ice hockey. We often slid to areas of the lakes that were unchecked.

3. JUMP UNTIL IT BREAKS: This game was the one that was the most dangerous of all. We would walk on a section of the lake or a pond and try to brake it. Each person took a turn walking or running across a certain area. As we walked or ran, the goal was to try and break the ice. Eventually someone did. Yes, eventually someone fell in. Although we often played this game closer to the shore, there were many risk factors we didn’t think of.

The Danger: When someone fell in, it was usually just one leg getting wet. However, looking back, one of us could have easily fell “under” the ice. Living on or around the lake, we were all good swimmers. However, one thing none of us really thought about was that if we fell in, the frozen water would greatly take away our ability to swim. The other risk factor was the possibility of falling in and part of the body smacking the ice, causing an injury that would prevent us from using our own physical strength to get out.

What can you do to help prevent your child from becoming a Headline?

1. Know where the lakes or ponds in your area are.

2. Check with local authorities to find out if they test the ice for safety and post it. They may just have a phone line you can call. Tell your children you will call for them. This will show your concern and interest.

3. Ask your child if he or she plays “any” games on the ice. Ask in a way that is curious not authoritative. Don’t be surprised if he or she is playing any of these games before they catch their bus to school. Talk with your child not at them.

4. Make sure your child knows the risks involved. Simply telling your child not to play on the ice “will” not work for every child. However, letting them know what some of the risks are might.

5. Be proactive and go take a look at the lake or pond your child says he or she plays on. If it’s a common place for the children in your town to play, find out if the town will install a life ring on the shore.

6. Explain to your child that if anyone ever dears them to do something they are uncomfortable with and will put them in danger, it takes more courage to do the right thing. The safe thing!

I wish you all a safe winter season!

Donald A. Davis (5 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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