Ice-skating is a fun and beautiful activity. It can be dangerous, though, if you don’t observe some basic safety protocol. Here are some safety tips to help you enjoy this fun activity with less risk.
A lot of injuries can be prevented if everyone on the rink follows the rules of polite behavior: no pushing, shoving, hitting, or crowding (give every skater a big personal space on all sides). Unless you’ve rented the ice rink for a special game time (such as broom ball), there should be no “horsing around” and goofing off. Older kids playing rough and crazy games can hurt younger kids and each other.
Learn How to Fall
Let’s face it – falling happens in ice skating. If you’re learning, it will happen a lot! Learn to fall on your body’s natural cushion: your bottom. It is not fun to fall, but it’s a lot less fun to fall incorrectly, such as on your face or side. Extending your arms to break your fall can result in broken arms. So learn how to fall on your bottom when you lose your balance.
Ponds and Lakes
Only skate on frozen ponds and lakes if you are certain the ice is thick and stable. Even then, be careful and observe safety measures, such as never skating on a pond or lake by yourself. Always have another person with you, and fan out on the ice so that you are not clumped together. The combined weight is more likely to break the ice, and if someone does break through, the other person will not go down with them if he or she is ten feet away.
Ideally, there should be a person with a cell phone on the pond or lake bank watching the skaters. You can alternate with this person so he or she gets a chance to skate, too.
Elbow and knee pads can help reduce injuries, especially for learning children.
Whether inside or out, it’s important to keep yourself from getting chilled. The wind you produce as you move whips the heat away from your body. Layers are essential – you can remove a layer or two as you warm up from the exercise, then replace the layers when you stop so you cool down slowly. Hats and scarves are important, as are thick socks and gloves. If you feel your feet or hands getting numb, get off the ice and get to a warm area.
Figure Skating Routines
If there is someone on the rink who is practicing figure skating moves, that person should be given space and should have the right of way. Figure skaters often have sharpened skates, and it’s important for those who are not practicing a routine to stay out of the way.