Education Blog

Summer Safety Tips for Backyard Cookouts With Kids

September 21, 2021

Summer is all about food, friends and late nights. Backyard Cookouts With Kids is just what you need to get the party started. There are plenty of backyard activities to enjoy with the nice weather and flexible schedules that allow children to stay up until late and sleep in as much as possible. Parents need to ensure that backyard barbecues end with good memories, not first aid. Here are some safety tips for summer cooking.

Grill and Fire Safety

“Every year, we see burns from grilling, especially in toddlers who touch hot barbecues,” Dr. Christina Johns is Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatrics. Kettle grills are particularly attractive to children because they are visually appealing and lower than the ground. “The reflective round shape is what kids love to touch and it’s just part of developmental pediatrics.”

As important as it is to keep children away from a hot grill, it’s just as important to clean up the area afterward. Johns notes that people don’t do a great job of keeping hot charcoal briquettes or embers away from picnic areas. They can also cause fire and pose a danger to young children who may step on them.

Dr. Johns encourages parents and guardians to supervise their children around fire-pits. Some designs include insulated ledges. Others can be hot enough to cause burns when touched with naked skin. She says, “I worry whenever kids are leaning in to anything. They are just not that coordinated.” “And even though the surface may not be hot, kids can still fall in.

Fireworks Danger of Backyard Cookouts With Kids

Johns says that she regularly sees patients with burns on their hands, feet, palms, or eyes. Because they are extremely sensitive and don’t heal well, the most common places to burn are the eyes, feet, hands, and genitalia. Contractures are more likely to occur in these areas after burns heal. This is where you lose your mobility and can get scarred. We only have two eyes so we don’t have much room for error.

Bottle rockets and roman candles are well-known for their danger. Even sparklers handed to children by parents can cause serious injury. The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance states that common sparklers can heat up to 1,800 degrees. This is far higher than the melting points of aluminum and glass, which are 900 degrees each, or the melting point of aluminum at 1,200 degrees.

The Hidden Danger of Food Poisoning

Although the repercussions of burns are more immediate than those of food poisoning, foods left out for too long  after a Backyard Cookouts With Kids can cause serious consequences. Johns warns that hot food, such as dishes with mayonnaise and raw eggs, should be kept out of reach for longer than two hours. You run the risk that the food may contain toxins. Food poisoning occurs when these endotoxins enter your stomach.

It’s easy to set a timer on your watch or phone when you start serving. It’s difficult to eat pre-assembled sandwiches, salads, or any other dish that has dressings or sauces. This can make it more likely that food will spoil. Because they are more durable, fruits, vegetables, and dry goods such as crackers make great snacks.

Dr. Johns notes that family pets can also benefit from many of the same safety precautions parents take for their children. She says, “We need to be cautious about our pets getting burnt and getting into bad food.” Your crawling baby or toddler may be able to eat the food that you have left out, but your feline and canine companions will not.