8 Ways You Can Keep Kids Safe in the Kitchen
We’ve got a really helpful guest post from the brilliant blogger and single father dadsolo…
For many modern parents, our kitchen is now the hub of our home. From meal prep to homework time at the kitchen table, we spend quite a bit of time there. It makes sense that the kitchen is the heart of our home when you think about the emotional connection we get from cooking and food. And it’s wonderful to get the whole family involved in cooking, even kids, but the kitchen also poses some inherent safety issues. By following these tips to include kids in the kitchen and teach them safety, you can enjoy this time as a family without having to worry.
Childproofing to Keep Babies and Toddlers Safe
The kitchen can pose the greatest risk to little ones who are curious explorers but don’t yet understand danger. Here are a few measures you can take to keep them out of harm’s way.
Counters – Foam cushions can be put on sharp counter edges and corners. Keep anything heavy, sharp, or potentially hazardous back on counters out of the reach of small children. This includes spices, which can be toxic, knives, and small appliances.
Locks and Latches – Childproof locks and latches are readily available to seal off cabinets, refrigerator and freezer doors, oven doors, dishwashers, garbage cans and any other potential hazards.
Electrical outlets – Seal off electrical outlets with plastic plugs.
Stoves – Use back burners when possible and keep pot handles turned towards the back of stove.
In addition to taking these basic measures, look around your kitchen and see what other potential everyday items could pose a safety risk for little ones, such as plastic bags and cleaning products. Healthychildren.org has noted an increase in poisonings by small, single-use dish detergent packets. If your child ever gets one of these in their mouth or eyes, call 111 or 999. This is also a really helpful UK poison support website.
Safety for Older Kids and the Whole Family
As kids get a little older, you’ll probably want to give them more responsibility in the kitchen. Learning to cook and help with cleaning up are important life skills, but along with those lessons come lessons in safety, too.
When kids start helping more in the kitchen, teach them these safety guidelines:
Clothing – Never wear baggy clothing that could easily get caught in something, and always pull long hair back away from the face.
Germs – Teach kids to always wash their hands with warm, soapy water before they start cooking. They also need to learn about safe handling of raw poultry, meat, and eggs, which can harbour bacteria. Show them how to keep work surfaces clean, and implement a family policy of having designated sponges and towels for specific tasks to avoid cross-contamination.
Sharp utensils – Older children can be taught to use knives and appliances that may be sharp as long as they’re taught proper safety. Make sure they always point knives away from themselves and others, and they should always give that task their full attention. Make it a rule that they always ask an adult before using anything sharp.
Fire safety – Keep a fire extinguisher easily accessible by adults and older kids, and make sure you all know how to use it.