National Picnic Month – Before You Pack a Picnic, Keep These Safety Tips in Mind

July is National Picnic Month. The weather is perfect for gathering the family, heading to a park or beach, and enjoying a meal under the sun. Before you head out on that picnic, you need to keep safety in mind.

Food safety is just one of the many concerns when going on a picnic. Here are some tips to make sure you have an enjoyable, issue-free day out together.

Caregiver in Highland Park IL: National Picnic Month

Caregiver in Highland Park IL: National Picnic Month

Maintain Proper Food Safety Temperatures.

Food poisoning cases climb in the summer. Eating outside can be fun, but bacteria thrive at temperatures of 40 to 140 degrees. You need to keep hot foods above 140 degrees and cold foods below 40 degrees.

If you’re planning to grill foods at the picnic site, bring an instant-read thermometer. You’ll also want a spray bottle of bleach solution and paper towels to disinfect the thermometer after use.

Use the thermometer to check that meats have cooked to the proper temperature. Ground beef needs to be at 160 degrees. Poultry must be 165 degrees. Steaks and pork need to be at 145 degrees or higher if you want your meat well-done. After eating, make sure all leftovers are moved to an ice cold cooler for safety.

Bring Sunscreen.

You don’t want to spoil the day out by getting a sunburn. Bring lots of sunscreen. Broad-spectrum protection is a must. The sunscreen should be at least 30 SPF and applied every two hours or sooner. If you’re near water, sunscreen should be reapplied after getting out of the water and drying off.

Seek Out Shade.

Look for a shady spot. It won’t protect you from all UVA and UVB rays, but it will help. If there is no shade, you should invest in a quick pop-up canopy to provide shade during this and future picnics and outdoor gatherings. You can get 10×10 canopies at many sporting goods stores for less than $40.

Supervise Everyone.

Choose a few people at the picnic to double up and keep an eye on younger children and seniors who are prone to wander off. Make sure someone is always on-duty and tracking movements and that there’s someone else who can herd people back to the safe location. If possible, find a picnic spot that has some fencing. Even if only two sides of the area are fenced, that eliminates having to watch two areas.

For people who don’t need close supervision, set up times and a location to meet up and ensure everyone is still safe. Make sure people have cell phones if people do break up into groups to enjoy different activities.

You might find it wise to bring a caregiver. Caregivers can help with food preparation, monitoring the senior’s activities, and any toileting help. Caregivers can also help with transportation.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Highland Park, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.



Jamie Shapiro

Jamie Shapiro, founder of Companion Services of America, LLC received a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. Jamie started her career in psychiatric social work at Northwestern University Institute of Psychiatry. Later, she went on to become the Director of Social Services at Belmont Community Hospital where she developed discharge planning procedures to assist staff in identifying potential patients requiring intervention.

Latest posts by Jamie Shapiro (see all)