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Use These 7 Tips to Keep Your Child Safe in the Kitchen

Imagine standing in your kitchen as you chop potatoes to add to the stew in your crock pot. The kitchen starts to smell like home-cooked food, the day winds down, and your toddler plays contently on her play mat. The doorbell rings.

While you talk to your neighbour, you hear an odd noise. You run back to the kitchen just in time to stop the crock pot from toppling off the counter as your toddler pulls on the cord.

Threats like this appear on a daily basis. Many end safely like the one depicted above, albeit with a high amount of anxiety, but not all resolve so favourably.

In fact, burns in the kitchen represent one of the most common childhood injuries. For infants to two-year-olds, the kitchen represents the worst culprit for danger. It ranks second for children from five to seven, after the outdoors. But the kitchen jumps back to the worst offender for children over seven. Fires and burns in the kitchen also account for the highest numbers of accidental deaths in children 14 and under.

In this blog, we give you seven tips to protect your child from the dangers present in the average kitchen.

1.Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature

Hot water burns endanger children's health and safety just like contact and chemical burns. If you set your heater at its highest setting, it may cause burns, even for adults. To protect your children, the settings shouldn't approach this level. Consult your water heater's manual before adjusting the temperature, but most heater temperatures can safely sink as low as 55°C (131°F) and should not climb higher than 60°C (140°F).

2.Cover Electrical Outlets

Inserting a foreign object into an electrical outlet results in shock, which may cause pain, electrical burns, or even death. You can reduce this risk using plastic pop-in outlet covers, box covers that go around an outlet, and cord covers. You should also place all cords out of children's reach—you may even choose to run them up the sides of covers or walls to keep them out of the way.

3.Install Appliances with Adequate Safety Features

More and more appliances come with safety features to protect young and special needs children from rotating blades, heated parts, and other threats. Some appliances offer a lock-out feature. Others have hidden operating switches or switches that you must push and hold to use, so children are less likely to accidentally turn them on. Talk to an appliance professional about upgrading or replacing your dishwasher, oven, and other kitchen appliances for safety.

4.Install Cupboard Locks

You keep a range of toxic chemicals and sharp objects in kitchen cupboards. To adults who know how to use them, these items pose a negligent threat. To children, however, they represent health and safety hazards. Put childproof locks on all cupboards and drawers within your child's reach.

5.Keep Chairs and Stools Tucked In

Tall stools and chairs pose a falling hazard, as well as giving children access to objects which may endanger them. To reduce this risk, tuck bar stools under the ledge and keep chairs pushed against the surface of the table. Watch for similar risks, like taller toys children could climb on.

6.Store Small Appliances out of Your Child's Reach

As with the scenario presented at the beginning of this article, many children become interested in cords visible over the edge of tables or countertops. If a child accidentally pulls an appliance over, it may cause bruising, pain, burns, or abrasions. Children with access to small appliances, like blenders and waste disposers, may experience cuts or broken bones. Store appliances in cupboards or on countertops with the cords tucked up out of the way.

7.Teach Your Child Age-appropriate Safety Practices

The best way to protect your child from the dangers of your kitchen is to arm him or her with tools for self-protection. But this preparation should suit your child's maturity and age. A toddler, for example, likely won't understand that ovens are only hot at certain times. Instead, teach very young children to simply avoid the appliance altogether. You can teach older children to read the dials to determine if the oven is on and to ask permission before cooking anything.

The kitchen represents one of the most dangerous areas of your home, especially for the littlest members of your family. But with some minor changes and preparation, you can protect them from any injury. Walk through your kitchen and take note of any items out of place or appliance configurations that may put your child in danger.

For more ideas on how to keep your family members, and your appliances, safe, have an appliance professional evaluate the room as well.

For tips on improving your appliances, remodelling, and choosing new appliances, read our other blogs.