Summer means warmer days, longer evenings, summer vacations, and of course…barbecues! With so many fun reasons to celebrate during the summer months, your family may have begun receiving and invitation or two to come to a summer BBQ – or you may even be hosting one yourself! Many parents are a little leery of barbecuing with small children underfoot but with some simple precautions, there’s no reason you can’t safely cook outdoors with children nearby.
Here are some very simple rules to follow to keep your next barbecue a safe and fun event for everyone:
- First and foremost, be sure to only grill outdoors. Grilling indoors or in an enclosed space is not just a fire hazard, but can expose people to carbon monoxide.
- Be sure to keep the grill away from all structures, including home siding and deck railings.
- Be sure your grill is not under the eaves of your home or near low hanging branches.
- Ensure that the grill is a safe distance from any lawn games and areas where your children play.
- Don’t wear large, loose fitting clothing while you’re grilling.
- Use long handled utensils to keep you as far away from the heat and flames as possible.
- Remove grease and fat buildup in the trays to keep them from igniting.
- Make sure that all of the ashes have completely cooled before collecting them and throwing them out.
When it comes to children being around the cooking area:
- Show your children how the grill works while it is still turned off. Most children are going to go near the grill out of curiosity, so before you start using the grill, show them how it works and explain to them the importance of being safe around the grill. This is a great opportunity to remind them of “Stop, Drop, and Roll”.
- Set up a 3-foot “safe zone” to keep children and pets away from the grilling area. We suggest an expandable fence or marking the area with chalk explaining they must stay outside of space.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children. For older children, teach them to get an adult to pick up any loose matches or lighters they may have come across.
- Never leave your grill unattended – especially when the children are playing nearby. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of accidents and fires when it comes to barbecuing.
This list may seem like a lot to remember but once you’re in the habit of following the steps it will become second nature and you and your family will be safe to enjoy the long, lazy days of summer.