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Fumble! 3 Tailgating Troubles

Key Points

  • Tailgating, a popular tradition at sporting events and concerts, has inherent dangers that have led some venues to ban it; those that still allow it emphasize personal responsibility for health and safety.
  • One of the top dangers of tailgating is food stored at improper temperatures, which can lead to foodborne illnesses; packing coolers correctly, using a food thermometer, and preparing messy foods ahead of time can help mitigate this risk.
  • Alcohol consumption under the sun is another danger, as it can lead to overconsumption and adverse reactions to prolonged sun exposure.
  • Unsupervised children at tailgating events are at risk of accidents, including being hit by cars in parking lots; setting up protected play areas and ensuring adult supervision can help prevent these incidents.
  • The article encourages tailgaters to set a good example by practicing and sharing these safety tips with others.

Whether it is a college football game, NFL pro game, an evening at the basketball arena, or even just a concert, tailgating is a time-honored tradition that brings together fans, friends, and families. Yet because of the inherent dangers that accompany the practice, some venues have decided to outlaw tailgating on their properties. Those that still allow it require you to be responsible for our own health and safety. Below are the top three dangers along with tips on how to tailgate safely.

Related: Front Yard Football: The Dos and Don'ts

Fumble! 3 Tailgating Troubles

Key Points

  • Tailgating, a popular tradition at sporting events and concerts, has inherent dangers that have led some venues to ban it; those that still allow it emphasize personal responsibility for health and safety.
  • One of the top dangers of tailgating is food stored at improper temperatures, which can lead to foodborne illnesses; packing coolers correctly, using a food thermometer, and preparing messy foods ahead of time can help mitigate this risk.
  • Alcohol consumption under the sun is another danger, as it can lead to overconsumption and adverse reactions to prolonged sun exposure.
  • Unsupervised children at tailgating events are at risk of accidents, including being hit by cars in parking lots; setting up protected play areas and ensuring adult supervision can help prevent these incidents.
  • The article encourages tailgaters to set a good example by practicing and sharing these safety tips with others.

Whether it is a college football game, NFL pro game, an evening at the basketball arena, or even just a concert, tailgating is a time-honored tradition that brings together fans, friends, and families. Yet because of the inherent dangers that accompany the practice, some venues have decided to outlaw tailgating on their properties. Those that still allow it require you to be responsible for our own health and safety. Below are the top three dangers along with tips on how to tailgate safely.

Related: Front Yard Football: The Dos and Don'ts

1. Food Stored at Improper Temperatures 

Mayonnaise that is stored in the hot sun, ground beef burgers that never make it to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and leftovers that get snacked on throughout the day are just a few of the dangers that send tailgaters to urgent care locations. Although it is not possible to anticipate each and every problem that arises, you can plan for the most common eventualities.

Pack coolers the right way. Cans and water bottles go on the bottom. Add ice. Next come fruits, veggies, and meats. Add more ice. Refrigerate everything before adding it to the cooler, and make sure that all meats are in closed plastic bags that do not leak. Bring a food thermometer and use it. Serve your burgers when they are fully cooked through.

Related: 4 Food Safety Tips to Always Keep in Mind

Also, think about doing the messy work ahead of time. Skewering meat is a messy job. The same is true for shaping burger patties. Do these jobs the night before when you have running water to clean your hands. The next day, you simply open your plastic bag and place the food on the grill.

2. Alcohol 

Alcoholic beverages and the full sun do not mix. Since tailgating starts well ahead of the event, there is no telling how many drinks a tailgater may have before enjoying even one morsel of food. The alcohol content tends to sneak up on people, and walk-in clinics are filled with those who over-imbibed and then had an adverse reaction to continued sun exposure.

Related: The Harsh Reality of College Drinking

3. Unsupervised Children 

Children are not content with sitting on a camp chair shooting the breeze. They like to run around and play. Board games and toys might keep them occupied for a bit but before long, they start wanting to run, play catch, or hide-and-go-seek. This is when it gets dangerous. As other cars drive in and out of the parking lot, children hiding behind, or darting between parked cars easily become victims of accidents. Retail clinics with family care physicians frequently see these children with injuries such as broken bones, abrasions, and sprains.

Related: 10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Out of the Urgent Care

If you have a young baby, or you brought your pets along, it's important to think about packing things to keep them safe. Think about packing the baby gate. They are great for puppies, toddlers, and small children. Set up a play area and park your cars so that at least two sides are protected from vehicles. Declare the play space open for business, and add sidewalk chalk and other small toys. If the kids do want to run around, see if you can hook up with other families and mark out a larger play area that is then watched by at least two adults at all times. 

Now that you know the three top tailgating dangers and how to tailgate safely, set an example for others. Rally those around you who are also tailgating and offer some of these smart tips.

Frequently asked questions

  • What are some of the dangers associated with tailgating?

    The top three dangers associated with tailgating are food stored at improper temperatures, excessive alcohol consumption, and unsupervised children.
  • How can I ensure food safety while tailgating?

    Pack your coolers correctly with cans and water bottles at the bottom, followed by ice, then fruits, veggies, and meats, and more ice on top. Refrigerate everything before adding it to the cooler, and ensure all meats are in sealed plastic bags. Also, bring a food thermometer and only serve your burgers when they are fully cooked through.
  • What are some tips to avoid alcohol-related problems during tailgating?

    Be mindful of your alcohol consumption, especially since tailgating often starts well before the event and the alcohol content can sneak up on people. Also, remember that alcohol and full sun exposure can lead to adverse reactions.
  • What are the risks associated with children during tailgating?

    Children can easily become victims of accidents while playing in parking lots, as other cars drive in and out. They can end up with injuries such as broken bones, abrasions, and sprains.
  • How can I ensure the safety of children during tailgating?

    Consider setting up a play area with at least two sides protected from vehicles. If possible, coordinate with other families to mark out a larger play area that is watched by at least two adults at all times.
  • What precautions can I take for food preparation during tailgating?

    Consider doing the messy work like skewering meat or shaping burger patties the night before when you have running water to clean your hands. This way, you can simply open your plastic bag and place the food on the grill on the day of the event.
  • What should I do if I bring a young baby or pets to a tailgating event?

    Think about packing a baby gate. They are great for puppies, toddlers, and small children. Set up a play area and park your cars so that at least two sides are protected from vehicles.
  • How can I promote safe tailgating practices?

    Now that you know the top tailgating dangers and how to tailgate safely, you can set an example for others. Rally those around you who are also tailgating and share these smart tips.

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