By Farah Ng, Canadian Red Cross Digital Volunteer

When my relatives first came to Canada from Hong Kong, my parents and I were excited to show them the magic of winter here. We were keen to show them that cold weather didn’t stop us from having fun. One of my fondest memories is taking my cousin skating for the first time at the neighbourhood pond. 

People skate on a pond

I remember we had matching pink magic gloves and pink skate guards. Holding hands, we gingerly stepped onto the ice. We slid forward, fell backwards and burst into laughter - over and over again. I see A pair of skates with a pair of mittskids doing the same thing on the pond every year.

Before heading out to skate this winter, here are a number of ice safety tips to keep in mind! One of them is to check the colour of ice to ensure it’s strong enough to support your weight. Grey ice is a sign that you shouldn’t get on while clear blue ice is the strongest. Ice needs to be thicker if there are multiple people skating or if you’re snowmobiling. 
 
If you do find yourself in danger on ice, call for help immediately. While you may be scared, resist the urge to climb out where you fell because the ice is likely weak there. Use the air trapped in your clothes to float, reach forward on broken ice and kick with your legs instead of pushing down. Once your back on ice, spread out your arms and legs to evenly distribute your weight.
 
Skates on ice

Of course, the best safety tip is prevention. Never take unnecessary risks when it comes to ice. It is important to ensure kids (and newcomers!) are aware of these safety tips. 
 
Once you’ve taken all necessary precautions, you’re ready to make some magical winter memories of your own!