JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Authorities are urging people to be careful around lakes or streams during these winter months.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says ice needs to be tested and should be 4 inches thick before you walk on it.
Capt. Tim Hull of the Highway Patrol says weeks like this, with the weather constantly changing, puts people at risk for falling through thin ice.
"Ice safety is something that at this time of year is very dangerous and people need to be reminded about it," said Hull.
Hull says children are a big concern to the patrol because they often don't think about how the ice is becoming thin with the higher temperatures.
"Kids have a tendency to want to go out and play on ice, whether frozen over ponds or frozen over coves, around the lakes like that," he said.
The patrol stresses the importance of parental supervision for any child who is going to be on ice.
Hull says adults who venture out are just as much of a concern.
"We also see fisherman that want to get out and go fishing, ice fishing, things like that," said Hull.
The patrol advises that no one try to go on a frozen river. They say the current makes the ice formation process longer, causing thin ice in many areas.
It also says it is important to have someone with you if you are going to be out on the ice.
"We always recommend that you use the buddy system if you're gonna go out on the ice. Make sure that there's someone with you," said Hull.
That way if you do fall in, there will be someone to call for help. Hull says the smart and most helpful thing to do if you see someone fall though the ice is not to go in after them.
"We recommend that they go and get hep because if they go out on the ice, they could fall through as well," said Hull.
But, the patrol says if you find yourself on thin ice and do fall through, follow these steps to get back to safety:
"Turn yourself around, spread your arms out as wide as you can get them, get back to the ice that's not broken and to push yourself up on to that ice with your feet. Kick yourself up on there. When you do get up on there, don't stand up and try to walk away or run away. Stay on your back or your stomach and roll," said Hull.
The Highway Patrol says wearing layered winter clothes can increase your chances of survival if you do go through the ice.
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