As the festive season is finally here, families are getting together to catch up, celebrate and have fun. One of the most popular pastimes around this time of year is Ice Skating. As fun as it sounds and looks, skating around an ice rink on two thin blades can be a dangerous activity for both adults and children to partake in.

I had a bit of a situation due to my inexperience and lack of balance when I went ice skating for the first time a few years back. I got too confident holding onto the side so I decided to let go and attempt to speed up to catch up with my friends who were racing around the rink like Brian Boitano. In my lame attempt, I fell backwards and could not get back up. Fortunately a member of staff was there to get me back on my feet but I never let go of the side barriers for the remaining duration of my session. I was left with a sore back and legs and soggy gloves and it turned my first ice skating experience into a bit of a misery. In order for you to avoid this I have explained below 6 safety tips to keep your experience enjoyable and fun.

Dress Appropriately – Make sure you keep warm, you do not want to be catching flu when you are having fun. Wear plenty of layers and try to avoid cotton as when it gets wet it stays wet, whether that be from water, snow, ice or sweat. Take a spare pair of gloves because cold and wet gloves are annoying when all you are trying to do is enjoy yourself.

Wear the Correct Skates – The last thing you want to be doing is losing one of your skates in the middle of the ice. Be sure to check that your skates are the correct size, they do not allow your foot to move freely inside them but you also don’t want to be cutting off your blood circulation either.

Check Your Blades – Make sure the blades on your skates are sharpened before going on the ice. Dull blades can lead to falls and accidents. There should be a slight curve to the blade.

Protect Yourself – Children specifically, should wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads when ice skating, and you should not be afraid to either. The last thing you want to gain when skating is an injury, whether that be minor or major.

Start Slowly – You don’t want to be attempting to recreate the Winter Olympics 10 seconds after you enter the ice rink. Take it easy at first so you can get used to it. Especially if ice skating is something you have never done before or do once or twice a year.

Follow the Instructors – It is quite common to be told to skate in an anti-clockwise direction. But you may be told to skate in the opposite direction. Make sure you are skating the correct way around the rink and avoid the middle which is usually used for lessons.