Gliding across the smooth surface of a frozen lake or pond is a refreshing and enjoyable way to stay active in winter. Ice skating is also a great family activity for all ages. Before lacing up your skates, be sure to consider the following safety tips:
Never skate alone.
Always ice skate with a friend and stay with your buddy at all times. In addition, bring a cell phone with you and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Check weather and ice conditions.
Natural ice should be at least 4 – 6 inches thick to skate. You can test the ice with an auger or ax.
Stay warm by dressing in layers, especially when ice skating for long periods of time. Items of clothing to consider: thermal underwear, fleece or wool, and wind and waterproof outerwear. To be fully prepared, leave extra clothes, food and water in your car. If sunny, also consider wearing sunscreen and sunglasses. More on gearing up for the outdoors.
Use proper equipment.
Sharpen your ice-skate blades before heading out. Sharp blades make it easier to stop and control your footing on the ice. Children may want to consider wearing a helmet and using a skate trainer device depending on level of experience.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Note where the edges of the ice rink are. Also, look out for others. Skating forward and in the same direction as others is safest. Do not attempt to skate backwards unless you are experienced or unless other skaters have moved from your path.