How to barbecue safely this summer
What could be better than firing up the barbecue and sharing a delicious meal with friends and family on a warm summer’s evening?
While barbecuing and dining outdoors are wonderful perks of the season, they do not come without their risks, especially if there are children present. To avoid any injuries or upsets, it is important to take the proper precautions while using a grill.
- Setting up the grill
Firstly, read the instructions and follow them accurately. Place the safety-tested grill on a non-flammable surface, preferably on stone slabs or paving stones and ensure it is stable. Only use the grill outdoors. Do not light it in enclosed spaces or under umbrellas.
- Avoid fire accelerants
Do not use fuel as a fire accelerant for barbecuing as they are highly combustible and can cause severe burns. Instead, buy good quality charcoal that does not contain fire accelerants. Stack the charcoal and place natural firelighters, such as paper or wood shavings, between the coals. Allow the charcoals to catch flame and then wait for the flames to die and cook over the ashen coals.
- Never leave the grill unattended
Although barbecuing is the perfect family evening, having children around high temperatures and flames poses a serious risk. Therefore, vigilance must be maintained at all times. As children are often attracted to flames and embers, the barbecue must never be left unattended. Toddlers, especially, are unaware of the dangers of fire and must be watched at all times.
- Food preparation
It is not safe for children to help load the food onto the barbecue. Grilling should be undertaken by adults only. It is recommended that children stay a safe distance of two or three meters away from the barbecue.
Cooking raw meat also presents some safety risks. Ensure any frozen meat is fully thawed. Keep all perishables in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Wash your hands regularly and avoid cross-contamination. Make sure the grill is heated to the correct temperature and that meat is cooked thoroughly. And, if you have secured any help for the event, ensure that your housekeeper or nanny follow the same instructions.
- Keep fire safety equipment nearby
It is important to have fire extinguishing equipment at the ready, especially if there are children present. Keep a fire extinguisher, fire blanket or bucket of sand next to the grill. Keep in mind that grease fires and burning grease are not to be treated with water. For your own protection, it is advisable to wear a BBQ apron and heat-resistant gloves.
- Extinguish embers fully
After grilling, completely extinguish the coal and then let it cool down. As it can take many hours for embers to fully cool, do not be tempted to speed up the process by burying them in the ground or garden. Close the ventilation shaft of the barbecue and allow the grill to cool completely before cleaning.
Need some more ideas for how to keep the kids busy during the summer? We have some great ideas for keeping your kids entertained outdoors.
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