Keep off the ice

Stay safe, stay off the ice

We are warning people of the extreme dangers of being around ice and open water during the winter. We have experienced severe cold conditions over the last few years.

Venturing onto frozen ponds, reservoirs, lakes and canals can easily have fatal results. It might be tempting to walk or play on the frozen water but the ice can easily break. The temperature of the water is cold enough to take your breath away, which can lead to panic and drowning.

The freezing temperatures can make your arms and legs numb which means you can't control them and can't swim. It can lead to hypothermia - a serious reduction in your body temperature - which can cause heart failure. This happens to even the strongest swimmers.

Please follow our simple safety steps:

  • Parents, guardians and teachers are urged to remind children and young people never to venture onto frozen water. Even if it appears thick from the bank, it becomes thinner very quickly.
  • Adults - set a good example by staying off the ice yourselves.
  • If a dog or other animal ventures onto the ice, or falls through it, do NOT go to its rescue - you are likely to end up in the freezing water as well and unable to help the animal. Always keep your dog on a lead near ice and never throw sticks or balls onto the ice for your dog to fetch

Over 50% of ice related drownings involve an attempted rescue of a dog

If you do see a person or animal in trouble in icy water, stay on the bank and phone 999. If you can reach the person with a branch, clothing tied together or other items then you could try to do so but stay on the bank.

Do not become a victim - phone 999! 
Our message is simple - stay safe, stay off the ice.

Further information and resources

Visit our toolkit page to download our Safe4Winter school presentation and ice safety leaflets and posters.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have produced a leaflet for parents and teachers which shows how the Be Water Wise code applies in winter and highlights the dangers presented by water and ice. More water and ice safety information for children and young people can be found on RoSPA's website.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK have some simple winter water safety advice to help you stay safe.