Tourist spotted playing with baby on wet rocks above Glacier National Park waterfall

McDonald Falls at Glacier National Park, Montana
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Glacier National Park is famed for its beautiful waterfalls, and there are lots of family-friendly trails that give excellent views of the cascading water. However, it's important to stick to the established paths for safety, unlike one visitor who was spotted dandling her baby on the rocks just a few feet from McDonald Falls.

Photos of the incident were shared on Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks this week, showing the woman sitting on rocks by the fast-flowing water, holding the infant upright so they can see.

A later shot shows that she has moved down to an area where the rock is wet (and therefore likely slippery), holding the child aloft.

The falls, rivers and lakes at Glacier are beautiful, but as the park's name suggests, the water is extremely cold, even in summer, and hypothermia is a serious risk. The National Park Service (NPS) explains that "children, photographers, boaters, rafters, swimmers, and fishermen have fallen victim to these rapidly flowing, frigid streams and glacial lakes."

Last year a woman died after falling into a creek and being swept into a gorge, and in 2020 a man died after becoming submerged after his fishing boat flipped on a river.

Hypothermia happens when your body loses heat faster than it can generate it, and can happen at temperatures well above freezing, particularly if you get wet. Symptoms include shivering, exhaustion, drowsiness, memory loss and confusion, and slurred speech.

To avoid accidents near waterfalls, make sure you wear robust footwear like hiking boots or hiking shoes with proper lugs, not flip-flips or sneakers. Stick to the trails and resist the temptation to climb over rocks to get a better view, and consider using trekking poles for easier hiking on wet, potentially slick surfaces. For more advice, take a look at our guide nine safety tips for waterfall hikes.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.