This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo.
The kitchen can be a dangerous place, there are sharp knives you can cut yourself on, hot stoves you can burn yourself on and a whole load of nasty cleaning chemicals around. As an adult, I’d hope that you’ve learned how to cook in the kitchen without injuring yourself, but your kids probably haven’t. Children are curious and they like to explore the world by touching and eating things. Unless you can watch them 24 hours a day, there’s going to be times when they’re in and around the kitchen on their own. If you don’t take the necessary steps to keep the kitchen safe for them, they could end up seriously hurting themselves or somebody else.
Simple Changes To Keep Kids Safe In The Kitchen
The first thing to do is speak to them about kitchen safety and tell them what they should and shouldn’t do in there. Obviously, they shouldn’t be using knives unsupervised and cooking on the stove is out of the question. It’s also important to tell them to keep away from any of the chemicals in the cleaning cupboard. The problem is, kids don’t always listen to you so you need to make changes in the kitchen to make it safer.
It’s also important to remember that cooking is a valuable skill that you should teach your kids from a young age. If the kitchen isn’t safe enough for them to cook in, they’ll reach adulthood without knowing how to boil pasta. If you haven’t got a clue where to start, follow this simple checklist and you can easily make the kitchen safe enough for the whole family.
When the kids are younger you can put everything up high and they won’t be able to get at it but as they start to get a bit taller, you’ll run out of places to stash things. Kids are also pretty resourceful and they’ll often find a way to get up high anyway. Childproof latches are the perfect solution to this. Just put all of the dangerous stuff away in a couple of drawers and put the latches on. That way you can rest easy that they won’t be able to get in there and play around with any of the knives. Remember to keep the cleaning stuff locked away as well.
When you’re trying to teach them to cook at a young age, the risk of burns is one of your biggest concerns. A normal gas or electric hob is going to get very hot and stay hot for a while. Kids can easily burn themselves by touching it after they’re turned off because they don’t realize that it’s still dangerous. One option is to install locks on the stove knobs so they can’t turn it on when you’re not there, but convection hobs are an even better solution. They work by heating the pan through a magnetic field and as soon as you take the pan off the hob, the heat goes right away. It’s almost impossible for the kids to burn themselves on the hob. You’ll need to get specific pans for it to work and there are quite a few different brands out there. Check out this list of the best induction cookware 2018 has to offer to find some good ones. Induction cooking hobs are the standard for most new kitchens because they’re just so much better than traditional gas or electric ones.
The dishwasher is often overlooked when parents are childproofing the kitchen but it’s a real hazard. You aren’t going to run it every day and when it’s just sitting there half full, it’s going to have loads of knives inside. Kids can easily get inside and play around with anything that’s in there. You can get a simple child lock for the dishwasher to keep them out until it’s time to run it.
Keep Glasses Down Low
Glass is another hazard that you’ll find everywhere in the kitchen but it’s only dangerous if it’s smashed and you’ve got sharp edges everywhere. You can’t just lock it all away in a childproof cupboard because they’ll need to use them regularly. But it’s too dangerous to put them in high cupboards where they could easily fall out and break. Always keep them in the bottom cupboards to avoid the kids stretching up to reach them and then dropping them and smashing them.
Curious kids are going to be tempted to put their fingers into electrical outlets and people will tell you that the solution to that is socket covers. However, there’s a lot of dispute about whether they’re a good idea or not. Some people argue that they’re a hazard because they increase the risk of fire. The sizes are also not standardized so they might not always fit properly. You can use them if you like but be aware of the potential dangers. The best thing to do is to educate your children on the potential risks involved and teach them not to mess around with the sockets. You should also turn off the sockets and unplug anything when you’re not using it.
When you’re trying to cook and you’ve got young kids in the house, it’s dangerous if they’re running around at your feet when you’re handling knives or holding hot pans. But you also can’t leave them unsupervised in another room, so what do you do? You need to set up an enclosed area in the kitchen where they can play safely without getting near the dangerous cooking zone. Set up a playpen where they’re fully in view, but far enough away that they aren’t at risk of getting splashed with hot oil.
The bad news is, you can do all of this stuff but your kids are still going to find a way of getting themselves into trouble in the kitchen sometimes. The most important thing you can do is properly educate them about the dangers that are around the kitchen and how they can avoid them.