Although figure skating is generally a safe activity for individuals of all ages, there are a few figure skating safety tips all skaters should follow. If you follow these figure skating safety tips, your trip to the ice arena will be both safe and fun.
Watching the Ice
If you ever skate on a frozen pond, you should definitely skate with extreme caution. Even during very cold weather ice can crack and cause you or your child to fall into the icy water. Never figure skate on a frozen pound without checking to make sure the ice is at least four inches thick. Never skate on a pond by yourself. Both adults and children should skate with a buddy. There should also always be someone watching from solid ground ready to call for help. If the ice does crack, drop to your hands and knees and crawl off the ice. This helps distribute your weight more widely, reducing your chances of falling through the ice.
Children taking ice skating lessons will most likely start by learning to fall. An ice skating coach can teach your children how to take a tumble without hurting themselves. With practice, even young children can learn to fall on their backsides. This is much safer than a forward fall, which can cause an injury to the head or wrists. For very young children, you might consider having them wear knee and elbow pads until they become more sure-footed on the ice.
Once your children have mastered the basics of skating, they might be ready to move on to more advanced skills, such as jumps. Make sure that your child is ready to attempt more advanced skating moves before you give your consent. Your child should have good ice control, know how to fall, and have the physical strength necessary to complete the moves. Advanced skating techniques should only be attempted if your child has been coached by a professional. An ice skating couch will not only teach your child how to perform a jump, but will also teach your child how to perform a move safely. This minimizes the risk of injury.
Teach your children proper ice rink etiquette. Many injuries occur when children or adults conduct themselves improperly on the ice. Absolutely no horseplay should ever be tolerated. Games such as tag and crack-the-whip can be extremely dangerous when played while skating, especially in a crowded ice rink. Make sure older children know to skate with caution around younger children.
Both outdoor ponds and indoor rinks can be quite chilly. All skaters should dress in warm layers. As they warm up, they can remove layers until they feel comfortable. When skating outdoors in extremely cold conditions, hypothermia can be a serious risk. Monitor young children closely. If anyone starts to complain of numb hands or feet, they should immediately be moved indoors to warm up.
Figure skating, when done safely, is a fun way to get some exercise. Use common sense, and obey these easy rules.