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Teach kids the dangers of ice

Ice thickness varies greatly on lakes, ponds and rivers throughout Minnesota. Some water bodies have none, while others have several inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"Ice, especially early ice with snow cover, is extremely deceptive because you can't see dangerous cracks or the thickness of the ice under the snow," DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block said. "Parents need to teach their kids that ice is never 100 percent safe. If your child is near the ice, you should be near your child."

Following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:

• Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).

• Children should never be unsupervised around ice.

• Caution children to stay off ponds, streams and other bodies of water.

• A thin coating of ice on a pond or lake does not mean it is safe.

• Check ice thickness at regular intervals — conditions can change quickly.

• Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

• Avoid channels and rivers.

The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are:

• 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.

• 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.

• 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup truck.

• 12-15 inches for a medium truck.

• Double these minimums for white or ice covered with heavy snow.

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/icesafety and mndnr.gov/boatingsafety.