Fire Up the Grill!

Fire Up the Grill by Ben Murphy, image by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Most guys know that it doesn’t get much better than grilled food. A nice steak done perfectly is one of the joys in life. And I’m hoping that you’ve already had a chance to pull out the charcoal (or gas) and flip a few burgers. But now that you’re a parent and have kids running around, what about safety? Yes, (sigh) safety.

Seriously though, you’re not at the frat cookout anymore. Little kids running around + really hot metal container = potential for disaster, but only if you don’t use common sense.

Fire Up the Grill by Ben Murphy, image by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

So, here are some quick, common-sense ways for you to easily minimize the dangers associated with grilling:

Don’t Catch things on Fire. I feel dumb for actually including his one as a tip, but the National Fire Prevention Association reports that gas and charcoal grills cause over 5,000 fires in or on home properties each year, resulting in millions of dollars in property loss. So, although this one seems obvious, apparently it’s not. Use common sense. Don’t put your grill on or near things that will catch on fire. And, please, don’t use your grill inside (yes, apparently people do that).

Teach Your Kids Early on. Teach your kids at an early age that 1.) the grill is hot, and 2.) they are not allowed near it. Period. And enforce it. Instilling this at an early age will help make it a no-brainer for them.

Keep the Grill off the Beaten Path. Having your grill next to the driveway where kids are playing basketball is probably not a good idea. Having it in the flow of deck traffic isn’t a good idea either. Move it. Designate the grill a “no play zone” and keep it from the flow of heavy foot traffic and especially from the flow of play.

Stay with the Grill. Having kids means having distractions. For example, there are times you’ll be tempted to run inside for something you forgot (like the BBQ sauce) while thinking, “it’s only a minute – the kids will be fine out there!” That may be practical thinking, but it’s not wise thinking; and it’s not a chance worth taking. If the grill is on and the kids are running around, be near the grill.

Cool Down. Human beings are wired for “out of sight, out of mind.” But just because you turned off the grill and sat down to dinner doesn’t mean the grill has now cooled off. Before the kids start running around again, just make sure that the grill has cooled off.

These tips aren’t rocket-science, and for most of us, I hope they’re already habit. But sometimes simple steps bear repeating and go a long way to making life more enjoyable. Enjoy the summer, and enjoy the grill!

Ben MurphyBen Murphy is a husband, father, artist, and founder and CEO of The Father Life. He and his family live in upstate New York.

Article image by: Julia Freeman-Woolpert, SXC

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