Experts: Talk to kids about pond safety

Temperatures are dropping, ponds not yet safe

INDIANAPOLIS - Ice has already formed on some area ponds, and it is only going to thicken as temperatures fall into the single digits over the next several nights.

Rescuers say now is the time for parents to talk to kids about ice safety.

"The kids, especially as we get into the holidays when kids are off from school, they've got to find something to do. And a lot of times these bodies of water are very inviting for them to walk out, and when they walk out on them, they fall through and then the emergency ensues," Wayne Township Fire Department Capt. Michael Pruitt said.

Those emergencies happen every year in Indiana and many turn deadly.

In 2012 a 6-year-old boy died after he fell into an icy pond behind his home in Nashville.

In 2010 one of three teens died when they tried to walk across Terrace Lake in Columbus.

"These are going to be the ponds that people unfortunately choose for recreational activities, whether it's kids or adults, every year we have people that get themselves in trouble going out on the ice. And there is absolutely no such thing in the state of Indiana as safe ice," Pruitt said.

Pruitt said because of the quickly fluctuating temperatures in Indiana, the ice is never stable. That's why rescue teams from departments across the state train for icy rescues and recoveries every year.

Pruitt said now is the time to talk with kids about never stepping onto ice -- no matter how thick it may look. They should not even go after a pet or another person, instead they should call 911.

"When somebody falls through the ice we're in a race against time, because the cold water has such a dramatic effect on the body's functions the longer someone is in there. So the main message is just stay off the ice," Pruitt said.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has safety tips on their website for activities like ice fishing . Experts say ice needs to be at least four inches thick to safely fish.

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