Life with children is always an adventure. When they are young, they constantly want to play. The kitchen is one room where playing should never be allowed. The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house.
Always keep chemicals in one cabinet, away from food. It should always be locked. Even once the kids are old enough to understand the danger, keep it locked. Explain to the kids why they should never touch chemicals. That they are dangerous, and you want to keep them safe.
Take the kids on a tour of the kitchen. Show them the appliances. Explain the purpose of each. Kids are very curious they want to know about everything. This will give them a chance to learn about all those bright and shiny things their not allowed to touch. Give them a chance to ask questions. Explain that when they are older they will be able to help in the kitchen.
Ovens are an obvious danger. They can burn little fingers, when hot. There is also a lesser know danger. Small children will try to pull up on doors and tables. If they try to lift themselves using an oven door, the door can pull open and hit them in the head. Some ovens have latches. If yours does not, latches can be purchased at baby supply stores.
Stoves are also an obvious danger. Kids can easily burn themselves. Pots left on the stove can be pulled down and broken. Those handles are very tempting. Kids enjoy playing mommy. More importantly, pots with hot food can be poured on top of a child causing severe burns. Little stationary fry pots are extremely dangerous. These pots usually rest on small feet. A slight tug on the cord can send it pouring down on a child. The oil rises to a very hot temperature, in these pots. An accident involving hot oil can be tragic. These are best left in the cabinet and not used. If you must use one to fry, never leave it unattended. Think safety first.
Knives are a constant danger. Don’t place knives in a drawer where kids can easily reach them. If possible, place them in an upper cabinet. If they are old enough to begin using a knife, have a supply of plastic knives on hand. As they get older teach them the proper use of knives. This is a great lesson for dinner time. Even kids who have had training, on how to use knives, can have accidents. Our 6 year old cut a slice of skin off her finger this summer. Accidents still happen. Keep knives out of reach.
One danger that may not be apparent is water. When kids are present water tends to get splashed around. This creates slippery floors. Keep spills cleaned up. A dry floor is a safe floor. Water also causes a problem with plugs. Kids love to plug in small appliances for mommy. Make sure they understand nothing goes in a socket , except a plug. Keep unused plugs covered. When water is present never plug in an electrical appliance. Electricity and water do not mix. Explain to the kids that only dry hands use plugs. Even older kids need these reminders. We expect them to remember all of our safety tips, but they don’t. Don’t assume they remember. Always remind them about water and electricity.
Cross contamination is a huge concern these days. I know I have checked my eggs recently. Salmonella and Listeria can be major issues in a home kitchen, as well as in the food industry. Counter tops and cutting boards must be properly cleaned. Use hot, soapy water to clean. When cooking, explain to children that raw meat should never be touched. If they do, make sure they wash hands thoroughly. If meat blood or fluids fall onto the counter clean it up immediately. Clean with hot, soapy water. Then place the cloth in the laundry room. Don’t use it again, that is one way cross-contamination occurs. Another trouble area is the trash can. Sometimes things spill onto the lid and down the sides. Clean those spill up immediately. Bacteria grows quickly, and little fingers love the trash can.
A hidden danger is small appliances with moving parts. Mixers, food processors, and blenders attract kids. They love the shiny parts and buttons. They love to hear the noises they make. These can be dangerous if used without supervision. Long hair, jewelry, and clothes that hang can get caught in the moving parts. Keep these appliances unplugged. If you have room, place them in a cabinet.
The kitchen is the hearth of the modern home. Don’t let yours become the scene of an accident. Follow these safety tips. Teach the children the proper use of kitchen objects. The more they know the less mysterious an object becomes. Above all, exercise good judgment and supervision whenever children are present.