Cold Weather Water Safety Tips From the MSHP
Many area lakes or ponds are used for winter recreational activities. Youngsters are easily attracted to ice covered private ponds for skating and playing. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has some tips to use in around water during the cold weather months.
Water Safety - When a body is suddenly immersed in cold water, cold shock occurs. Once the trunk of the body goes into the water, the blood vessels start to constrict to help to preserve body heat. Because of this the use of a person's extremities are limited. A sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure can occur, and in some cases, the result is cardiac arrest.
Hypothermia is also a concern. The body loses heat 25 times faster in water than in the air. If dry clothes are not available for a body that has ben in the cold water, leave on the wet clothes. They will offer some insulation and trap body heat.
Ice Safety - Ice forming on lakes, rivers, and ponds place a person at much greater risk due to natural variables. It's impossible to judge the strength of ice by its appearance or daily temperature.
Always supervise children playing on or near ice. Make sure they understand the dangers of being on the ice and insist that they wear a lifejacket/PFD or thermal protection buoyant suit. Never let them play on ponds or lakes unattended. Adults should educate children about the dangers of playing on ice.