With summer here, there will be many opportunities to host a cookout or attend one. These tips can help keep kids safe while enjoying the party.
Prep & Set-Up
Before guests arrive, take a walk around the deck, yard, or wherever your cookout will be taking place. Make sure to pick up any large sticks or rocks that could be a hazard to little ones. Put away any garden tools or chemicals that may be in the area. These things may be obvious to adults, but to children, they’re dangerous.
The grill is probably the most dangerous thing at a cookout. When setting up your grilling area, make sure that you’re putting it out of the way. You don’t want the kids (or anyone really) to keep having to go past it to play or while running around. If you can, make sure you the wind isn’t blowing in the direction of where people will be sitting. This will help the smoke from blowing right into everyone’s faces. If need be, consider putting a baby gate around the grilling area.
Okay- this one seems too obvious. However, we all get carried away while socializing and may lose track of the kids. It only gets harder the more kids you add in. Just keep a lookout for all of them. If you see someone’s kid that is doing something wrong, either grab their parent or save the kid. I don’t mean parent someone else’s child, but make sure they’re not doing something to hurt themselves or others.
Lay the Ground Rules
When all the kiddos are ready to run off and play, remind them of the ground rules. You know the rules I’m talking about: stay away from the grill, don’t go in the barn, don’t touch the lawnmower, etc. At my in-laws’ house, where most of our cookouts take place, there is a hole that keeps sinking near the bird bath. So, at every single family gathering, we tell the kids don’t go near the bird bath. It’s simple enough, tell them and they mostly stay away. Just tell them where they can play and what they can and can not do.
This is general stuff, but…
- keep your cold foods cold (40 degrees F or under) and your hot foods hot (140 degrees F or over)
- use separate coolers for drinks vs. food so that the food cooler won’t be opened continuously
- do not reuse marinade that raw meat was sitting in
- put cooked meat on a clean plate, not the same one it was on raw
- If you’re questioning keeping something, just toss it. Better safe than sorry.
Most of all, use your head and have fun!