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Sheriff Issues Thin Ice Warning

Most victims of fatal accidents on the ice in Hennepin County have been children.

Hennepin Sheriff Rich Stanek is reminding parents and guardians to keep children away from thin ice on rivers, ponds, creeks and lakes.

“I urge parents and caregivers to supervise young children and set clear rules about ice safety,” Sheriff Stanek said. “Please teach your children that no ice should ever be considered safe—especially this time of year.”

An adult should be near a child whenever they are near the ice or wate. The early part of winter has traditionally been the time of year when children are at risk for ice accidents because of the holiday schedule over the next two months.

Small bodies of water such as ponds are especially a hazard now since they are the most likely to have a thin layer of ice. A dusting of snow or frost may give thin ice the appearance that it is safe when it is not.  

As of Nov. 21, no ice in Minnesota has been reported by DNR conservation officers as consistently four inches thick, the recommended minimum thickness for walking and small group activities.

The DNR states that last winter, four adults died falling through the ice, and the DNR recommends contacting a local bait shop or resort at the destination lake to find out if ice is safe for the planned activities.  

Sheriff Stanek also urged local residents to keep their dogs on a leash this time of year. The Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol has responded to incidents involving pet owners who put themselves in jeopardy chasing after a dog that wandered onto thin ice.

For more information about ice safety, the DNR has tips online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice.

Information supplied by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

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