Falls are a part of any sport that requires significant movement, and ice skating is no exception.
This is especially true for those just starting to learn to skate, who are much like newborns attempting to walk for the first time.
While some falls are harmless, there are others that can be more severe, leading to injury.
Therefore, new ice skaters must make safety a priority.
Being safe allows beginners to have fun while minimizing the chance of a moderate to severe injury.
Injuries also play a psychological role, discouraging newbies from getting back on the ice, missing out on the potential to learn a fantastic skill.
LEARN TO SKATE IN THE SAFETY AND COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME WITH POLYGLIDE SYNTHETIC ICE
Ice Skating Safety Comes First
The best way to stay safe is to invest in ice skating safety gear so you can skate comfortably.
Tens of thousands of skaters get injured yearly, especially in the 5-14 age range.
These injuries can range from cuts, scrapes, and bruises to more serious concussions and broken bones.
Many of these mishaps could be prevented with the right practices and gear.
That's why we're happy to share some of our best tips and equipment so you can be safe your first – or next - time on the ice.
10 Ice Skating Safety Tips
1. Get a coach to teach you the basics
Are you excited about ice skating? Unfortunately, it's much easier to get injured if you don't know what you're doing.
It helps to get an experienced coach who can teach you the basics, including lacing up your skates, moving forward, turning, and stopping.
You'll feel much more confident on the ice and minimize your mistakes.
2. Obey the rules of the rink
If you're visiting a neighborhood ice rink or one at a carnival, you're likely to see some rules plastered near the rink entrance.
These rules aren't for show.
They help skaters get the most out of the rink while staying safe.
For instance, some rinks request that the skaters go in one direction to avoid collisions.
Get familiar with the rules and share them with younger skaters so everyone has a clear understanding of the rules.
3. Don't text and skate
New ice skaters are eager to take pictures and share their experiences on social media.
Yet, that one selfie can lead you to a head-on collision with another skater.
Avoid using your phone while on the ice, as there are different skaters with different skill levels going at different speeds.
Reducing distractions as a beginner can increase your safety.
4. Stay close to the edge
As you get better on skates, it will help to stay on the outer edge of the rink.
For starters, most beginners will be here going at a steady pace, which will reduce your odds of colliding with a more advanced skater.
Furthermore, rinks have walls and handrails you can use to help steady yourself, meaning you're less likely to wipe out and get laughed at.
5. Learn how to fall to minimize injuries
Do you know there's a right and wrong way to fall on the ice? It's natural to fall with an outstretched arm in an attempt to brace yourself.
However, that's a recipe for a broken wrist and a trip to the ER.
Instead, learn how to fall on the ice.
It might not feel like a natural movement, but if you're intentional, being mindful allows you to be as safe as possible.
6. Make sure kids are supervised
Most new ice skaters are kids starting as early as five years old.
These newbies are eager to skate quickly but are likely to fall or get hurt.
An adult or qualified coach must stay near kids to help them skate or assist them should they fall and be unable to get up on their own.
7. Heed any warnings for outdoor skating spaces
Ice skating is not limited to indoor rinks.
There are ponds, lakes, and other areas that freeze in the winter, making them perfect for skating.
However, as the temperature fluctuates, so does the ice's integrity.
It's important to look for warnings about skating in these areas to avoid severe injury.
A common practice is to skate on at least 6 inches of ice.
8. Beware of ice skating blades
Ice skates do contain sharp pieces of metal at the end, which can be dangerous.
While extremely rare, these blades can lead to injuries like cuts.
Avoid any activities that may lead to accidents with blades.
Keep the blades covered when off the ice with a blade guard or soakers.
9. Dress for the weather, especially if it's cold out
With ice skating comes cold, sometimes freezing, temperatures.
Your clothing then becomes an essential piece of ice skating safety gear.
Wear warm pants or leggings, which also double as extra protection for your legs if you fall.
A light jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt with long sleeves protects your arms while keeping you warm.
Add or remove layers according to the weather to stay safe and warm.
10. Consider starting off on synthetic ice
What if there was a way to skate without the risks that come with skating on natural ice?
You can with synthetic ice.
These are polyethylene tiles or panels that connect to form a surface for ice skating.
This surface is durable enough to skate with metal blades but provides a reduced impact with falls.
Try These Pieces of Ice Skating Safety Gear for Beginners
Want to take these tips we mentioned to the next level?
Then, add some ice skating safety gear to your trip to the rink.
Ice skating gear is not limited to hockey players.
Recreational skaters can also benefit from some simple pieces of ice skating safety gear.
These are the essential pieces any new skater should have for a safe session.
1. Get a Helmet
It goes without saying that a helmet is a given for any new skater.
Falling on the ice can lead to head injuries like concussions.
There's also a risk of falling backward and hitting the back of the head.
Helmets protect the head and neck, reducing the risk of head injuries.
A multi-sport helmet like this one from Outdoor Master is made of light yet durable shock-absorbing materials.
2. Knee pads and elbow pads
You're likely to fall forward on your knees or elbows, which can be painful.
On the cold but unforgiving ice, you are likely to get bumps, bruises, and cuts, even with long pants or sleeves.
Additionally, there is a risk of fractures.
Investing in some knee and elbow pads can help any beginner skater protect these joints:
3. Padded pants or leggings
Protecting your elbows and knees won't stop the painful feeling of falling on your side or your butt.
While not a requirement, you can get padded pants or leggings, which can protect your delicate parts.
The Bodyprox pants are commonly used in snowboarding but can help with protection while ice skating.
4. An Ice skating training aid
Most beginners struggle to maintain their balance, falling several times before they get the hang of it. Falling without protection can lead to injury.
Both kids and adults can benefit from training aids like an ice skating walker.
This gives you the support you need to glide around the ice, holding onto a sturdy, adjustable walker while also reducing falls and injuries.
5. The Right Ice Skates
Can skates double as ice skating safety gear?
A skate that's too big or not secure can lead to falls and ankle injuries.
Dull blades can also impact your skating experience, leading to more falls.
Your goal is to find an ice skate at your level that performs well and secures your foot.
Ice skates are also sized differently to regular shoes.
You can visit a skate shop to find the size and type that's right for you.
You can also read some of our recommendations for the best ice skates under $200.
Conclusion: Create A Safety-Conscious Mindset
The right ice skating safety gear and tips can help you have an enjoyable time on the ice.
As you get better, you'll probably relax some of the gear and rules around safe skating.
You'll get faster, more control, and improve your balance.
However, you should still keep the principles in mind.
Investing in ice skating safety gear also speeds up your learning curve, as you'll be more willing to follow instructions, skate longer, and feel less intimidated by falls.
Ice skating safety is the key to an enjoyable sport and possibly progressing to become highly skilled in the sport.