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Warning to stay away from frozen lakes

12 December 2022

Children and young people have been warned to stay away from frozen lakes following a tragedy in the West Midlands where three boys lost their lives.

Parents are also being encouraged to talk to their children about the dangers of frozen water and thin ice in the recent spate of cold weather.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People Committee said: “The snow and cold weather have resulted in beautiful scenes across the country but they also create hidden dangers. The tragedies in Solihull have been a stark reminder that the thickness of ice can be deceptive, and the consequences of falling into freezing water can be fatal.

“Children should enjoy the snow and cold weather but enjoy it safely and under the supervision of adults. Nobody wants to see the tragedy in the West Midlands repeated – particularly so close to Christmas.”

The Royal Life Saving Society UK has issued a series of guidelines for both children and adults as the country experiences it coldest spell of the winter so far:

  • Children should not go on the ice under any circumstances
  • Stay away from the edge of bodies of water as uneven terrain can make slips and falls more likely
  • Whenever possible, stick to well-lit routes away from water
  • Keep dogs on a lead when they're near the ice, and don't throw sticks or toys onto the ice
  • If a pet falls in, do not go onto the ice or into the water to rescue them, move somewhere where the dog can climb out.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Station Commander Paul Clarke, Lead for Water, Road Safety and Children and Young People added: “While frozen ponds and lakes may look tempting to explore, they can be extremely dangerous and can easily have fatal results.

“It might be tempting to walk or play on the frozen water but the ice can easily break. It’s impossible to know how thick the ice is or how deep it is underneath. The temperature of the water is cold enough to take your breath away and this can quickly lead to panic and hypothermia, and ultimately, drowning. Please keep off the ice and talk to your children about the dangers involved too.”