OTTAWA -- Ottawa police are warning the public to be careful around rivers, lakes and bodies of water after a week of fluctuating temperatures.

"Considering the heavy snowfall this winter and expected springtime-like weather, we can expect increases in groundwater runoff and possible flooding weakening ice surfaces," said Sgt. Walt Lushman of the Ottawa Police Service’s Marine, Dive and Trails Unit.

"Ice is inherently dangerous at this time of year and always unpredictable."

Police also recommend snowmobilers stick to the trails and away from open bodies of water or thin ice.

Ice safety tips from Ottawa police include:

  • Always supervise children playing outside who may wander or want to play near rivers, ponds, creeks or ditches. A child can drown in less than two inches of water.
  • Cold water temperatures can prevent even strong swimmers from escaping once they’ve fallen through the ice.
  • Watch your pets closely so they don’t venture near or onto thin ice.