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Offense is the best defense when creating a safe Super Bowl celebration

February 1, 2010

NORTHBROOK, Ill., February 1, 2010 - There are no instant replays when it comes to hosting a party or playing it safe on Super Bowl Sunday. Statistics show that the average household will bring 17 people together on the day of the game, making it one of the most watched, most highly celebrated events of the year. Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the leading product safety testing organization, has a playbook for the big day that can help hosts take an offensive position to create a safe celebration for family and friends.

When dozens of football fans get together, good food is always a major crowd-pleaser. In fact, the Super Bowl is the biggest outdoor grilling day every winter - approximately 62 percent of grill-owners fire up their grill for the big game. But if not done safely, it can be the source of fire and burn hazards for hosts and their guests.

"It's expected that things can get crazy when family and friends celebrate the Super Bowl. You need a game plan to prevent potential accidents should the excitement interfere with your best intentions to keep family and friends safe," says John Drengenberg, director of Consumer Safety for UL. "Underwriters Laboratories wants fans to enjoy watching the game instead of taking a timeout to head to the emergency room."

UL recommends the following safety considerations to help make your Super Bowl memorable for all the right reasons:


The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) reports that last year nearly 4.5 million consumers planned to buy a new TV in preparation for the Super Bowl. While installing new flat-screen TVs can be a tricky task if not done in accordance with manufacturers instructions, a larger concern could be hazards associated with second- or third-string televisions in the home, which are often the older tube-style TVs. 

The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital reports that nearly 40 children visit emergency rooms each day with injuries after a heavy piece of furniture, like a TV, has fallen on them. To avoid mishaps in alternate viewing areas, Drengenberg recommends the following:

  • Verify that furniture is stable on its own. For added security, anchor to the floor or attach all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving and bureaus to the wall using appropriate hardware, such as brackets, screws or toggles.
  • Place the TV on sturdy furniture appropriate for its size or on a low-rise base.
  • Push the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child's reach and teach them not to play with the cords.
  • Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, like toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.


Once the viewing area is ready, food and drinks become the centerpiece of a successful Super Bowl party, which usually means lighting up the grill.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that grilling is the cause of more than 8,300 home fires each year. In addition to keeping the grill a safe distance from the home - ten feet if possible - keep it outdoors at all times.


When it comes to preparing for standing-room-only crowds, Drengenberg reminds party hosts to take a few moments to consider not only child-proofing the home for guests' children, but also to consider adult guests as well.  As host, the best pre-game drill might be to get down on your hands and knees to view the home from a child's level.  You might be surprised to find sharp corners, cords dangling from the kitchen counter and small objects even before the National Anthem is sung. In addition, pathways should be clear of toys, throw rugs, electrical cords and other items that could cause distracted children and guests to trip or fall.

"Most families are familiar with child-proofing, but on game day, over-zealous adults may need just as much consideration during those last-minute touchdown drives," says Drengenberg. "If professional athletes can injure themselves as part of celebration routines, team-spirited guests might also need to be reminded that a torn hamstring or strained shoulder will not make for comfortable conversation at the water cooler on Super Bowl Monday." 

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. For more information, visit About UL.