On thin ice—teach kids the dangers of ice

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Now is the time to talk with kids about the dangers of ice. Ice thickness varies greatly on lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the state. Some water bodies have none, while others have several inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

With many children out of school for holiday breaks, they may look toward newly forming ice for entertainment. 

Ice safety guidelines

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:

• Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).

• Children should never be unsupervised around ice.

• Caution children to stay off ponds, streams, and other bodies of water.

• A thin coating of ice on a pond or lake does not mean it is safe.

• Check ice thickness at regular intervals—conditions can change quickly.

• Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

• Avoid channels and rivers.

The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are: four inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot; 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup; 12-15 inches for a medium truck. Double these minimums for white or ice covered with heavy snow.

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