Firing up the grill on Father’s day is a great way to bring the family together to celebrate Dad…but bring young children too close to the flames and you’re asking for trouble. Here are five great tips to keep the kids out of danger but still feeling like Dad’s special little helpers.
- Explain the rules. Before your grilling adventure begins, sit the kids down for a safety pep talk. Set a strict no running policy in the cooking zone and show them the boundaries of this area. Let them help with strictly safe tasks, like stacking charcoal briquettes, and walk through the old "stop, drop, and roll" technique of tamping out flames, practicing the tried-and-true maneuver at least once or twice.
- Set up a side station. Right outside of your grilling zone, have a table just for the kids where they can prep items for the grill—like mixing marinades or patting out hamburger patties—and assemble no-cook side dishes and salads with mom.
- Let little cooks be creative. Present them with bowls of freshly cut vegetables and meat, chicken or seafood and let them design their own shish kababs. Make sure they wash their hands before and after handling the food and explain the safety reasons why as they go.
- Get them in on the action. Kids will eventually want to watch daddy man those flames, so show them how it’s done from a safe distance in the cooking zone and let them assist Dad with doable (albeit non-flammable) tasks, like bussing platters of food from grill to table or fetching forgotten tongs or spatulas.
- Let kids give Dad the ultimate gift: Put them on KP after the barbecue while he relaxes with a big bowl of homemeade ice cream and allow them to assist in cleaning the grill once it's completely cooled and all flames are extinguished..
By Emily Arno