Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest party days in America. It’s the second biggest snack day of the year, next to New Year’s Eve, and the second biggest feasting day, next to Thanksgiving.
Here are some things to consider before, during, and after your Super Bowl party so that your friends and family stay safe.
Your Game Day Stadium
A new flat screen television is one way to make a statement for your big game party. Bigger may be better but not necessarily safer.
More than 17,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year due to injuries from tipping TVs. Children 5 years of age and younger are at the greatest risk of injury.
Here are some ways to tip-proof that new flat screen:
- Place your TV on low, stable stands or tables.
- Install safety anchors and anti-tip devices on any TV that’s not mounted on a wall.
- Don’t put remote controls or toys on top of the TVs. Children might try to climb and reach them.
- Make sure TV cords and cables are safely secured and out of a child’s reach.
Your Game Plan
As your game day party coach, you need to make sure your players are taken care of. Beer, win,e and other spirits can be part of your game day event, but make plans for what happens after the game is over:
- Have at least one designated driver.
- Monitor drinking and have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available.
- Stop serving alcoholic beverages at the end of the third quarter. Serve coffee and deserts.
- Don’t let friends drive home if they’re impaired. Take their keys – call them a cab or get them a ride home. Remember: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.
There are some general tips to keep your game day buffet safe throughout the day:
KEEP THE KITCHEN CLEAN
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water.
- Have lots of hand towels available or use paper towels to keep things clean and dry.
- Wash cutting boards after each use – especially after trimming raw meat or seafood. Rinse all fruits and vegetables.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and other items are cooked completely. Chicken wings, hamburgers, hot dogs, and most other meats and poultry need to reach 160 degrees.
- Microwave leftovers to 165 degrees to kill any harmful bacteria.
KEEP FOOD SAFE
- If you’re preparing food in advance, store food in shallow containers. This allows rapid cooling and re-heating.
- Keep hot foods hot – 140 degrees or warmer. Use slow cookers or heated warming trays to keep food hot. Put out small amounts at a time and keep food warm in the oven or other large warming device.
- Keep cold foods cold – Salsa and guacamole should be kept at 40 degrees or less. Use small serving dishes that are nested in slightly larger bowls filled with ice.
- Divide large pots of food, roasts, or whole poultry into smaller portions before refrigerating. They’ll cool quicker and be safer.
WATCH THE TIME
- Follow the recommended cooking time for all foods.
- Pay attention to “standing time” with microwaved foods – This allows the items to heat all the way through.
- Keep track of how much time a food item is left on the serving table.
- Sideline any perishable foods that have been out at room temperature for two hours or more.
AVOID MIX UPS
- Keep raw meat and uncooked food separate from ready-to-eat foods like veggies, chips, and snacks.
- Use small, disposable plates, and utensils.
- No “double dipping.”
TWO MINUTE CLEAN-UP DRILL
When your party is over, clean up leftovers quickly.
- If a heated item has been left at room temperature for more than two hours, throw it away.
- If a refrigerated item has been left at room temperature for more than two hours, throw that away too. Monday (or any day) is a bad day for food poisoning.
- Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate quickly.
- It’s OK to put hot foods directly into the refrigerator. Don’t let them “cool” on the counter.
- Use leftovers stored in the refrigerator within four days at the most. Freeze leftovers if you want to keep them longer.
While friends and family may enjoy your special wings, salsa, and other game day snacks, your pets can be especially sensitive to items on your buffet table. Some items may make them sick or even cause fatal injuries.
- Don’t share beer, wine, or spirits with your pets. Even small amounts can cause sickness, breathing disorders, coma, and death.
- Chips and dips contain onions and garlic which are harmful to pets.
- Guacamole and avocados contain persin, which can be fatal to birds and some large animals. Moderate amounts can lead to digestive disorders in dogs and cats.
- Nuts and chocolate can be fatal to pets. Macadamia nuts are especially toxic. As few as six macadamia nuts can cause tremors, weakness, elevated heart rate, and vomiting.
- Animal fat – such as fat from barbeque rib bones – can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
- Bones, such as chicken wings and other small bones are a choking and digestive hazard for dogs and cats.
- Any beverage with caffeine, such as soda, coffee, tea, or energy drinks, can be toxic to pets and cause abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and death.
Have a great time watching the big game with friends and family. Stay safe.
Sources: CDC, ASPCA, SAFE KIDS WORLDWIDE