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Kids and Kitchens: Eliminating Dangers in Your Kitchen

Most homeowners love their kitchens. After all, tasty holiday meals begin in the kitchen. Meaningful conversations happen in the kitchen. Learning experiences abound in the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the most comforting rooms in the house, but it's also one of the most dangerous, especially if you have children.

Children are curious by nature. They love exploring, climbing, and touching everything in sight. But when they're exploring in the kitchen-around hot pans, sharp knives, and raw food-their adventurous spirits can get them into trouble.

The last thing you want is an injured child, and the second to last thing you want is an unsafe kitchen. To protect your kids and your kitchen, keep the following tips in mind

Reducing the Risk of Falls, Broken Bones, and Bruises

Kitchens contain numerous heavy objects. Because children are often clumsy, there is a lot of potential for blunt force injuries in the kitchen. Luckily, it's easy to prevent falls, broken bones, and bruises.

  • Don't let your children stand on a tall chair. If you've ever watched a baby or toddler walk, you know children often lose their balance and fall. Although most children are resilient in the face of these falls, a fall from a few metres higher can do a lot more damage and cause a lot more pain. Instead, put him or her in a high chair with a secure safety belt.
  • Place non-slip rugs or rubber mats around your kitchen. This cuts down on the falls children might experience as they run through the kitchen.
  • Tuck cords out of sight. Children often pull on cords, causing whatever is connected to them to come crashing down. If you can't keep your cords completely out of sight, secure them to the wall to protect your kids from falling kitchen appliances.
  • Keep items on the counter away from the edge. Even if kids don't actively try to grab reach something on the counter, a bump or spill might send something over the edge.

Preventing Burns and Abrasions

The kitchen is full of hot dishes and sharp objects that can injure just about anyone. However, you'll want to be extra careful to protect children from burns and abrasions.

Burns

  • Teach your children that the stove, oven, and burners are very hot. Tell them touching any of these surfaces will hurt and damage their skin.
  • Don't let your children play with pots or pans. Doing so teaches them that these items are toys, which increases the likelihood that they'll try to reach one on a hot stove. Install a childproof stove guard on the edge of your stove to protect small children against grease splatters or spills.
  • Turn pot and pan handles inward. Not only does this prevent children from knocking a pot of boiling water over, it also keeps you from accidentally bumping into a hot pan.
  • Never open the oven door around a child. Children's skin is more sensitive than adults'-the hot oven air might cause burns.

Abrasions

  • Keep your children away from knives. Don't leave knives laying around on the dinner table, and don't let kids slice their own food.
  • Serve your children's food on shatter-proof dishes. Kids often throw their food on the table and pound their spoons on the high chair. Some kids might do these things with their dishes. If a dish breaks, it might cut your child, so try to stick with plastic dishes.
  • Store aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper in a secure drawer. The sharp, serrated edges can cut your children's fingers.

Eliminating Choking and Poisoning Hazards

Kids love to put things in their mouths, which is problematic for several reasons. Children can choke on small items, while uncooked foods or cleaners can take a drastic toll on small bodies. Take the following steps to avoid choking and poisoning accidents.

  • Teach your children how to wash their hands. Help them know that bacteria from dirt, pets, or the bathroom can get in their food and make them sick. You should also be diligent about washing your own hands any time you touch raw meat or eggs.
  • Clean your kitchen floor on a daily basis. Be on the lookout for seeds, nuts, hard candy, and other choking hazards.
  • Wash your kitchen towel every day. You use the towels in your kitchen to clean up spills, wipe countertops, and wash dirty dishes. That means there are a lot of germs residing on those towels. Replace them often to prevent germs and diseases from spreading. Further, don't wipe your kids' mouths with kitchen towels. Use a sanitary wipe or clean paper towel instead.
  • Wash your kitchen towel every day. You use the towels in your kitchen to clean up spills, wipe countertops, and wash dirty dishes. That means there are a lot of germs residing on those towels. Replace them often to prevent germs and diseases from spreading. Further, don't wipe your kids' mouths with kitchen towels. Use a sanitary wipe or clean paper towel instead.
  • Keep your children away from illness-causing foods. Remember, children's immune systems aren't fully developed and can't handle some of the foods your system can. These foods include:
    • Unpasteurized milk and cheese
    • Raw eggs or undercooked meats
    • Honey
    • Raw seafood
  • Store chemicals, oils, and cooking spices out of children's reach. Most of these materials are toxic to people of all ages, but your children don't know better than to not eat or drink them.

Keep these tips in mind to make your kitchen a happy and kid healthy place in your home. Take a look at our other blogs for more information on making your kitchen the best room in the house.