Unseen Drowning Danger: Wear a Life Jacket When You’re On the Ice

Unseen Drowning Danger: Wear a Life Jacket When You’re On the Ice
When it comes to water, drowning is a persistent danger. However, we don’t often associate drowning and ice. The truth is, frozen water can also be hazardous to your health. For this reason, it’s crucial to wear a life jacket when you’re on the ice.

The Unseen Drowning Danger of Thin Ice

Looks can be very deceiving when it comes to frozen bodies of water. It can be tough to tell how thick the ice is with a simple glance. This is just as true for both children and adults. This can cause a number of dangerous situations.

For one, falling through the ice can lead to a condition known as cold water shock. Basically, when a person’s body is suddenly submerged in freezing cold water, it has a natural but dangerous reaction. In this situation, a person will automatically gasp for a breath of oxygen. Because they are trapped underwater, their lungs will fill with ice cold water instead of air.

Additionally, if a person falls through the ice, they could become trapped. A person can easily have trouble finding their point of entry due to frigid temperatures and confusion. This can quickly become a deadly trap. To learn more about avoiding thin ice, here is a focused blog titled Don’t Break the Ice.

Wear a Life Jacket When You’re On the Ice

Now that we’ve explored some of the dangers of thin ice, let’s talk about how to avoid these scary circumstances. Put simply, wear a life jacket when you’re on the ice.

No matter your age, whether you’re skating or ice fishing, it pays to wear a proper flotation device. For example, here’s a story about some folks who fell through the ice while riding an All-Terrain Vehicle over the surface. Both victims luckily survived, but they had to be treated at the hospital for hypothermia. Many others are not so lucky. Luckily, life jackets greatly improve your chances of surviving a situation like this one.

Picking the Right Life Jacket

As we often point out, drowning is an extremely common cause of death for children under the age of four. Obviously, this warning extends to adults as well, but children need special attention when they are in the water.

How Do I Choose a Safe Life Jacket?

No matter your reason for being by the water – whether you are swimming in the summer or skating in the winter – you should always wear a life jacket. Not only that, but you’ll need to make sure you are wearing the right one. As it turns out, not all life jackets are created equal. Most important, be sure to use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

For adults, a life jacket is chosen based on chest size. However, when choosing one for small children, parents should start with the child’s weight.

  • Infant Life Jackets: 8 to 30 pounds
  • Child Life Jackets: 30 to 50 pounds
  • Youth Life Jackets: 50 to 90 pounds

The life jacket should fit snugly, but not too tight. For the safest fit, the life jacket should be tight enough to prevent it from being lifted up to your child’s ears.

Finally, choose a brightly colored floatation device. An easily identifiable jacket makes it easier to quickly locate the victim.

What If My Child Falls Through the Ice?

This is a horrifying question for any parent. While it is wise to wear a life jacket when you’re on the ice, let’s face it: accidents also happen.

If your child happens to fall into cold water, don’t walk onto the ice to try to save them! In this case, you may also fall in, and then you’ll both be in danger. Instead, find something that you can reach out to the victim to grasp. This can be anything long and sturdy you have on hand, such as a shovel, rope, or even a long branch.

If you have absolutely nothing to extend to the victim, then try to find something that you can float on, then paddle yourself out to them.

If all else fails and you have to go onto the ice, do not walk! Lay down across the ice. You see, this spreads your bodyweight across the ice rather than in one place. This gives you a bit more stability. Pull yourself along to the victim.

After successfully rescuing the child, your job is not over! Hypothermia may have already set in, and medical attention will be needed immediately. As we learned before, wearing life jackets will likely increase your chances of survival!