As long as the kitchen environment remains safe, cooking with children can be an experience filled with learning, experimenting, and sharing.
The benefits of cooking with children are endless. Not only is this a great way to teach kids valuable life skills, but it also gives families the perfect excuse to spend plenty of quality time together. But the kitchen can be a danger zone for youngsters if precautions are not taken to reduce hazards. Here are some basic safety tips to keep kids in the kitchen safe from falls, burns, and other injuries.
Keep Kitchen Supplies Where Children Can Reach Them
When kids do things for themselves, it builds their confidence and fosters independence. For this reason, all of the kitchen supplies needed to carry out cooking activities with youngsters should be in a place where kids can reach them on their own.
When cooking utensils and ingredients for recipes are stored on a low shelf, drawer, or child-sized table, it keeps kids from climbing on countertops and chairs to get what they need and reduces the likelihood of dangerous falls.
Clean Up Spills in the Kitchen Immediately
When children cook in the kitchen, spills will happen from time to time. And it’s tempting to wait until later to clean them up. But with the distraction of dealing with young kids, a parent may forget about the spill altogether, and youngsters can accidentally slip and fall. So to prevent serious injuries from falls, clean up spills as soon as they happen.
Keep Sharp Kitchen Utensils Away From Kids
Never allow young children to handle sharp kitchen utensils such as knives. So unless foods are soft enough to cut with a plastic knife, all of the cutting and slicing should be done by an adult. And once parents are finished using sharp kitchen utensils, store them out of the reach of children.
Lock All Household Chemicals Away
Kitchen counters and cabinets are common places to store household chemicals. But if there are small children in the home, chemicals should be out of reach. According to Safe Kids USA, 91,000 kids under the age of 14 are treated in emergency rooms yearly because of accidental poisonings; and 80 percent of these are in children under the age of four.
Young children absorb chemicals in the bloodstream faster than adults, so ingesting even a small amount of a toxic substance can send them straight to the emergency room. To prevent this from happening, lock all household chemicals away.
Secure Kitchen Appliances
Food processors and blenders contain sharp blades that can sever a small child’s hand. So unplug these appliances, and store them out of reach when kids are in the kitchen. Also, position cords on appliances so they don’t dangle from countertops.
Burns from hot liquids and steam are the most common type of burn-related injury in youngsters, so turn pot handles to the back of the stove to keep children from pulling them down.
Cleaning up spills, keeping kitchen supplies within reach, locking away chemicals, keeping sharp utensils out of reach, turning pot handles to the back of the stove, and securing dangerous kitchen appliances will minimize hazards and keep the experience of cooking with kids fun.