Fumble! 3 Tailgating Troubles

November 14, 2013
by Michael Barber
Fumble! 3 Tailgating Troubles

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.