3rd June is the start of Child Safety Week and we have created a family kitchen safety guide to keep you all safe.
For many families the kitchen is the hub of the family home. It’s not just a place where food is prepared but is also often one of the most used rooms in the house. It is also, however, one of the rooms which has the greatest risk of accidents, and this is why kitchen safety is very important. There are a lot of potential hazards in the kitchen, especially to children, but for most of them, the risk can be lowered with a little care and attention.
Safety is an important aspect for the whole family, including children of all ages, adults and also pets. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to keep your kitchen safe for everyone.
Kitchen safety guide for Small Children…
- Keep knives stored in a high draw or block away from the easy reach of children.
- Teach your children from as early an age as possible about how to hold and carry a knife and use it safely.
- Turn pot handles in to prevent children from grabbing them.
- Make sure that you and your children wash hands before and after handling food to prevent the spread of bacteria and explain the importance of this to your children.
- Get a step for children to be able to reach the work surface if they are going to be cooking or washing up.
- Set out safety rules in the kitchen – such as only using a knife when there is an adult present and make sure that your children understand these rules.
- Explain the importance of not licking fingers when they have been handling food such as raw meat to your children.
- Consider child-proofing your kitchen drawers and cupboards if you feel that you need to.
- Use the back hob burners if you don’t want children to be able to touch the pans.
- Teach your children as early as possible about how to store food properly.
Kitchen Safety for All the Family…
- Don’t wear loose clothes when cooking and tie your hair up to prevent them from catching fire (and getting in your food). Try to teach this to your children too.
- Try to design your kitchen with safety in mind – a bespoke kitchen design can help you to avoid electric plugs near water sources, build in storage which is both high and low (leaving some areas out of the reach of small children), or give you non-slip flooring.
- Keep oven gloves and pot holders nearby, use them and teach your children to use them. Make sure that you don’t leave them near to an open flame and remember that they are hot after they have been used.
- Clean up spillages straight away to prevent people from slipping on them.
- Keep raw meat separate from other ingredients to avoid cross-contamination. Store them separately in the fridge and use a different chopping board when preparing it.
- Get a fire extinguisher to use in your kitchen, learn how to use it and teach the rest of the family.
- Keep cupboards and drawers closed when you’re not using them so that people don’t walk into them or bang their heads.
- Hold pot handles whilst mixing or stirring to help to avoid spillages.
- Avoid putting sharp objects or knives in washing up water where someone could put their hand in and cut themselves.
- Don’t leave food cooking on the hob unattended.
- Make sure that the oven and all kitchen appliances are turned off before leaving the kitchen.
- Keep electric appliances away from water.
- Learn the basics of how to deal with burns
- Make sure that you wrap breakages such as glass and ceramics so that no-one can accidentally get cut.
- Avoid dangling electric cords that might be mistaken for toys by children or pets.
- Have a first aid kit readily available.
Kitchen Safety for Pets…
- Don’t leave raw meat or old food out where pets can get at it. It can be poisonous to them.
- Always wash your hands after handling pet food.
- Keep kitchen equipment and appliances away from wandering paws and wagging tails.
- Check that the cleaning products that you use are pet friendly.
- Ensure that your rubbish is secure and kept in a place where pets cannot get into it.
By ensuring that your kitchen environment is a safe one, you can begin to use the kitchen for what it was intended – instead of being worried about accidents all of the time. Whether you are cooking alone or with your children, chatting or just spending family time together, you will be able to relax a little and enjoy what you are doing.
Ella Hendrix is a versatile freelance writer, currently covering articles on family psychology, elderly care children’s behaviour. In her spare time, you will find her head in a book or sipping on a peppermint tea.