11 Summer Grilling Safety Tips to prevent eye injuries and more:

With summer right around the corner, many of us will be spending a lot of time outside with family and friends enjoying such activities as swimming, biking, fishing, boating, surfing and more.  Most family reunions are held during the summer and many of us will be grilling outside at home, in parks, or at company events.  Grilling is fun and food from the grill tastes great.  However, grilling can also be dangerous and lead to accidents that can either send you to hospital or cause you to lose or damage your eyesight.

Here are a few tips to prevent bodily injury, fires, and eye injuries associated with grilling:

  1. Eye protection – It is important to wear eye protection when grilling or barbecuing. Smoke, grease, and even small sparks of fire can easily get into your eyes when grilling.  A good, clear pair of safety googles or sun glasses will protect your eyes from these elements and from harmful UV rays.  If you do get smoke, grease, or anything else in your eyes while grilling or during any other activity, be sure to have a first aid kit handy and call your eye doctor or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
  2. Lighter fluid – After using lighter fluid, make sure your hands are clean and there is no lighter fluid on your hands or fingers. If you should get lighter fluid into your eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes and then seek the care of an eye care professional, or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
  3. Lighting – Make sure you are in a well-lit area so that you can see exactly what you’re doing, especially if you are grilling during the evening.
  4. Clothing – Wear the appropriate type of clothing while grilling. Apron strings, hanging shirttails, or long sleeves that are too long and hanging or any type of loose clothing can catch fire.
  5. Drinking alcohol – Many of us enjoy drinking during cookouts. It is important to be totally coherent when grilling to avoid injury.
  6. Be prepared for fires – Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher on hand for larger fires and baking soda for smaller, grease fires.
  7. Use proper utensils – Grilling utensils are manufactured with longer handles and made out of materials specified for use when grilling for a reason. Do not use utensils made for indoor, household cooking when grilling outdoors.
  8. Keep an eye on the grill – Always make sure someone is watching the grill. Many fires that destroy homes are related to unattended cooking areas including grills.
  9. Location – Make sure your grill is in a safe, stable location where it cannot easily be tipped over and make sure there is enough distance between your grill and recreational activities. Also keep children and animals away from the grill.  And do not place your grill too close to trees or other things that can easily catch fire.
  10. Propane and charcoal grills should never be used indoors.
  11. Cleanup – With charcoal grills, let the coals completely cool off before disposing of them. And then use a metal container for disposal.

On behalf of the Fort Lauderdale Eye Institute and staff, have a great summer and make sure you have your eyes checked by a qualified eye care professional once a year.