1. Kitchens have numerous hazards
For growing families who prepare many meals at home, the kitchen is a top contender for the most-used room in the house. As such, it is often a space where all family members spend a great deal of time, but it is important to remember that your kitchen is also one of the most dangerous rooms in your house. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to make your kitchen a safer place for the whole family.
2. Secure dangerous appliances
Sharp kitchen tools — like knives, scissors, or even forks, and glassware that could shatter into sharp pieces — should be secured out of your child’s reach. Along with these items, you should secure appliances that have sharp edges, like food processors, because small, curious hands might find their way into a dangerous spot.
3. Lock up potentially poisonous substances
In order to keep a kitchen and all that is in it clean and germ-free, we often use products like soap, polish, bleach wipes, and dishwasher detergent. However, many of these items can be poisonous if your child ingests them. With that in mind, you should keep these items locked away, at the very least in a cabinet that is secured with a child safety lock that latches automatically when the door is closed. Ideally, this would also be a cabinet that is out of your child’s reach.
4. Consistently separate non-food containers
Especially as children grow and seek to play a more active role in feeding, it is important to make clear distinctions between what is and is not food in your home. Some ways to prevent your child from confusing food and non-food items are to label all non-food containers, consistently use the same, distinctive containers for food, use different containers for non-food items, and always keep the two items in separate spaces.
5. Take care with appliances
For your curious baby or toddler who is just beginning to enjoy exploring the world, appliances big and small can pose a threat in the kitchen. Turning off, unplugging, and neatly wrapping the cords for appliances can keep children from tugging on electrical cords and pulling appliances down on themselves or from accidentally turning on a potentially dangerous machine.
Be sure to also keep all electrical outlets that are not in use covered with safety caps. For some major appliances, like the oven, at least turning them off immediately after every use can be an important precaution.
6. Pay attention to the oven
Of all of your appliances, one of the most dangerous is the oven (or range), since it isn’t an easy appliance to unplug and is often within your child’s reach. There are a few ways to make this appliance safer, though. First, choose an oven that is well insulated to ensure that it will not cause burns if touched when in use. Be sure to keep oven doors closed and install child-resistant knob covers to keep children from accidentally turning the oven on.
7. Take precautions while cooking
When appliances are in use and pots are on the stove, there are many risks for children, including potential burn hazards. With that in mind, take special precautions to protect your children while cooking. Pots should be used on back burners as much as possible and their handles should always be pointed towards the back of the range to prevent accidental spills. Also, be sure to set a clear example for your children by using oven mitts to handle hot pans or dishes. Finally, keep your child in a high chair or contained space that is out of harm’s way in the kitchen.
8. No small magnets
Many of us remember the magnets you could use to form different sentences or words, and many moms love to use magnets to display their children’s artwork on the refrigerator, but small magnets are a choking hazard. If your child swallows a small magnet, they may not only choke, but may also injure their digestive systems if the object is completely swallowed, meaning it is best to avoid them entirely.
9. Avoid cross-contamination
Even seemingly harmless surfaces and areas in your kitchen can become breeding grounds for nasty bacteria, if safe food handling practices are not implemented. Be sure to wash your hands every time you touch raw meat, poultry, eggs, or fish products to prevent spreading potentially dangerous germs.
- HealthyKids.org. Kitchen Safety.
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