Though attentive supervision is the
single best way to safeguard your child from harm in the kitchen, you can make your
kitchen a safer environment for those times when a childs curiosity gets the best of
- Use outlet plugs to prevent your child from sticking an object or fingers into an unused
- Keep all glass, sharp objects and breakables out of a childs reach.
- Dont leave knives lying around where they can be grabbed.
- Keep plastic bags out of reach. They are a suffocation hazard for young kids.
- Use a high chair with a safety harness.
The average kitchen
has many things that a young child just loves to grab. Stove controls are the most
worrisome item to look out for. Many stoves have protective burner covers that can protect
your child even if they manage to turn a burner on. Small children love to explore
anything they can open, so make sure that your low cupboards contain nothing that can pose
a danger. After the stove, cleaning solvents and other sprays and liquids represent a
major risk. Keep these safely locked away. Most hardware stores or home stores carry locks
that will secure cupboard doors and drawers. You may consider a safety gate for your
kitchen door, but this may not be realistic when you consider the traffic in and out of
your kitchen every day. Dont carry your young child while you also carry hot foods
Kick The Bucket
A common but overlooked danger in the kitchen with small children
present is buckets filled with water. Young children have drowned in just a few inches of
water. Never leave a bucket of water or cleaning solvent unsupervised around a young
Your refrigerator door should be secured because a young child could
pull the door open. Items in the refrigerator could fall on the child if the door is not
secured. Tablecloths should not be used since a child may pull herself up by grabbing the
overhanging edge of the cloth. This could bring heavy plates or hot beverages down onto
the child. Though good supervision can prevent most mishaps, even the most attentive
parents can arrive too late to prevent injury or accidents when dealing with ever-curious
youngsters. Creating a safer daily environment for your child
is half the battle.
Learn Not To Burn
Hot liquids are a constant source of danger to young children in
the home. A drink heated to a temperature of 140 degrees can create a burn in just five
seconds. At 160 degrees, a burn occurs in just one second. Its also a good idea to
establish a zone in the kitchen where your young one is not allowed to be. This may be
accomplished by placing a colorful rug directly in front of the stove. Teach your child to
stay off of the area and the limits will be obeyed over time. Praise and reward the child
for observing this boundary and a safer kitchen will be the result.
If you cook with fat cookers or fryers, be especially careful around a
child. The grease used in fryer cooking can reach in excess of 400 degrees. This will
cause serious burns on skin. Be sure to keep emergency phone numbers by the phone. Better
yet, program emergency numbers into the speed dial feature of all your telephones. If your
child is old enough, teach him or her to dial 911, or the appropriate emergency telephone
number in your area.
Securing trash and garbage cans is yet another area of concern with
young children in the home. Containers must be inside a cabinet or storage area with a
locking door. Otherwise, children can get at trash and injure themselves by touching a
sharp edged lid or other hazard. Containers should also be made of an easily washable
material. Trash and garbage cans should be cleaned regularly with hot, soapy water. This
will help protect your child as well as warding off household pests.
Dont Get Cornered
Think about it. Your entire home is made of right angles with one
sharp corner after another. You dont think about them much, but a young child is at
special risk of being injured by a table corner or other sharply edged object. Some
hardware stores can sell you detachable coverings to make corners safer for your child. If
you are furnishing your home, you may want to consider tables and other pieces with
rounded edges. You cant protect your child from every knock and bump in life, but a
little planning can certainly reduce the risk of injury. Silverware should not be stored
loosely or within reach of a child. Dont forget to safely store your aluminum foil
or plastic wrap. The boxes on those items often have sharp teeth to cut the foil or wrap
to length. These teeth can cause injury to your child. If you barbeque outside, you should
remain just as vigilant as you would in the kitchen.
A Real Turn Off
Some stoves and ovens today are equipped with an automatic shut off
feature if the appliance is left unattended for too long. Its a good idea to enquire
about this feature if you are in the market for a new stove. You should check the hottest
setting on your faucet to make sure that a serious burn will not result if your child is
exposed to it. If the temperature is too high, you can adjust the setting to a safer
level. If you are not particularly handy, get a qualified person to help you. If you keep
these tips in mind, you and your children are sure to have more enjoyable times in the
kitchen with less worry for parents and caretakers.