It’s a season we’ve all been waiting for! The Sun is out, the temperature is finally warmer, school is out and it’s SUMMER!! Time to be outdoors, play some sports, soak up a little sun and fire up the grill for some of our favorite foods!! All these factors equal fun with family and friends. As always, safety should be a #1 priority, especially when there are kids around. Time to explore some practical ways to maximize your fun in the sun, all the while making sure the little ones are safe around the grill.
Nothing tastes better than fresh grilled food in the warm, summer months. So much so that some of us brave the cold in the winter time and go outside because we miss the taste of food off the grill. Now that the warm weather has arrived, time for our favorite way to cook the foods we love. A grill is a beautiful thing, but with little ones around, a grill can bring some danger that should gain our focus to make sure we are paying attention and teaching our kids the importance of safety around our favorite outdoor device.
For your safety, always grill OUTSIDE as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is a factor when a grill is used inside or in a closed-in area. Also, make sure your grill is not too close to your house, deck railing or anything that could potentially catch on fire.
Keeping your grill clean is always a good way to prevent any unwanted fires. Be sure to regularly clean out your grease trays so fat and grease will not be ignited into flames. If you have found how difficult it is to really clean your grill, scraping all the grease and grime that your favorite foods leave behind, check out the amazing and environmentally safe grill cleaning products called Better Grillin. You will find the easiest, most efficient tools to clean your grill, preventing those unwanted blazes before they start!
First and foremost when it comes to grilling safety and children, ALWAYS have a conversation with your kids about the dangers and risks of fire and heat that come from the grill. Use oven mitts and other precautions to show them that you are doing everything you can to be safe when you cook on the grill. The seriousness in your voice and in your actions will show them you aren’t joking and that fire and the risk of being burned are of the most importance. Never leave the grill unattended and never leave the kids near the grill when you aren’t standing right there next to them when the grill is on or off. The kids could knock the grill over accidentally then you have a huge risk of lawn fire, one that can quickly spread. You may not even be using the grill, but inquisitive little eyes see big buttons and knobs that look like fun to play with. Whether your grill is powered by gas, propane, charcoal and lighter fluid, NEVER let children have access to the fuel systems on your grill, even when you aren't using it, always be observant!
The best way to make sure your kids stay safe while you grill is to start by creating at least a 3 to 5 foot parameter or barrier around the grill where kids, and pets, can’t get to it. The use of baby gates and outdoor play yards for babies and toddlers can keep them away from the grill and give you room to cook without worrying about them getting too close. If your kids are older and not contained by a play yard, create a diversion play area nearby that is frankly more interesting to them than the grill. A kiddie pool with just a little bit of water, a sandbox or water table, a push car or small slide, something exciting for them that makes the grill look boring. Anything fun that is successful in diverting their attention away from the grill will keep them safe and you sane!
Supervision is always key to a safe grilling experience. It’s important to always keep an eye on what you are cooking on your grill. The bigger the grill the more food it will hold which means more to keep track of. If your child knows you are grilling something they like, whether they can see it or smell it, they might be tempted to come near the grill in search of food. Keeping the hood closed when possible will keep curious, hungry little eaters at bay. The less they see (hopefully) the less likely they are to try and snatch food while it is cooking. The same goes for your pets. They know good food when they see it or smell it and will try to be around the grill, hoping you will throw something good their way. And if the family pet is at the grill, the kids will soon follow. Try to create some distance from your pets and your grill while you are cooking outdoors, for their safety and for the kids as well.
ALWAYS Have A Fire Safety Plan
Fire safety for everyone at your home is essential. Make sure you have a home fire plan that everyone is aware of, even little ones. Make sure there are fire extinguishers accessible inside your home in your kitchen and other areas, as well as outside near your grilling area so you are always prepared and ready if a fire were to break out. Make sure your kids know where the fire extinguishers are and can be ready to help point someone to their whereabouts at any time. Let them be your honorary “home fire safety chief.” It gives them good, helpful knowledge and helps them take fire safety seriously, making them feel like an important part in the function of a safe home.
Let Them Help!
Letting the kids be a part of the meal process is a good way to keep them busy and involved, and there’s plenty of things they can do away from the grill. Let them help prepare a plate stacking up buns or bread, arranging fruit or veggies on a tray, putting together the contents of a salad, or show them how to set the table. All these activities are great for involving them without posing danger of them being hurt. The more you let them help the more you will find they will want to help. Make sure they always wash their hands and, if they are younger, be sure to not let them handle raw meat with the risk they may put their hands in their mouth. Grilling out meats and poultry does come with the risk of harmful bacteria, so make sure to cook these items well and keep little hands away.
Having a family is a challenge, but the most fun and rewarding challenge you will ever experience. Having a safety plan (and a few safety back-up plans) may sound like a lot of work, but they ensure that your family will be well protected and making fun memories together are well worth all the plans you make ahead of time. Being safe teaches your kids the importance of being safe, one that they will carry into adulthood and wherever they go in life.
Go grill and safely enjoy the summer! There are priceless memories to be made!
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