Child Safety in the Kitchen
No other room in your house contains as many dangerous items as your kitchen, and of all the activities you engage in while at home, few are filled with more safety hazards than cooking. These tips and guidelines will help you keep your family safe from common kitchen accidents:
Kitchen safety tips for parents:
1. Make a habit of always cooking with the back burner, and be sure that all pot handles are turned inward. One of the most common burn injuries, and also one of the most dangerous, occurs when a toddler or preschooler wants to see what mommy is cooking, and reaches for the pot handle, tipping scalding food or boiling water directly onto their face.
2. Many parents go to great lengths to childproof their kitchen, but then have a habit of setting knives or other dangerous items right on the table within kids' reach when they are using them. To avoid this, designate a high shelf or other special area that is inaccessible to kids as a workspace to place knives or other dangerous objects. Installing a simple, small shelf high on the wall next to your work area can vastly improve safety.
3. Use colored electrical tape on the floor to outline areas around the stove, microwave, or food preparation area that kids are not to cross when you are cooking. Make sure it extends two to three feet out from the stove, so that kids are far enough back to avoid being burned by splashes or spills. It helps to have this visible barrier, so that if a child wants to talk to you while you're cooking, you can gently remind them to stay behind the line. Keeping your food preparation area free of kids - especially those areas around the stove - can eliminate many common child accidents in the kitchen.
4. When you take a tray of cookies out of the oven, or remove any other hot pan, be sure to place it in the middle of the counter. Many kids are burned by touching trays of food that were just taken from the oven.
5. Keep your work area clutter free while cooking. Disorganization tends to lead to accidents.
6. Try to avoid setting hot items on tablecloths, since kids might pull them over.
Kitchen safety rules for kids:
1. Talk with older children about how they should always carry knives with the point down. Also give them this rule: when your hand leaves the counter, your knife doesn't go with it. Many injuries occur when a child who is helping a parent cut food waves a hand gesture or otherwise swings the knife around, catching another child in the face.
2. If your child has long hair, always tie it back before they help you so that it doesn't get caught in blenders or other equipment.
3. Teach all kids to never try to reach and see what's cooking on the stove. Tell them that if they're curious, you'll lift them up to see, but they should never try to look on their own.
4. Talk with children about the dangers of setting anything atop the stove, even if they think the stove is off.
5. Consider buying kids a set of landscaping gloves to use when they are helping you in the kitchen, and have them wear one on their non-cutting hand to protect against the accidental slice of a finger.