Ask Ginger: Kitchen Safety
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Q: I’m thinking of getting my kids more involved in cooking dinner. Which steps can I take to make sure that my kitchen is a safe environment for them? (Allison, Mt. Washington)
A: One of the best ways to prepare for a family meal is to invite everyone in your family, especially your kids, to get involved in meal preparation. Keeping a few simple things in mind will help keep your kitchen a safe environment for both you and your kids. Consider the below tips for making your kitchen as safe as possible by taking certain steps before, during and after the cooking process.
Before cooking, make sure that you:
- Wear closed-toe shoes when in the kitchen so that your feet are protected from hot spills and falling utensils.
- Wash your hands!
- Tie back your hair to keep it from falling into food, and if it is especially long, from accidentally catching fire.
- Clean kitchen floors and countertops clean and free surfaces of clutter.
While you are cooking, pay attention to the following:
- Keep all sharp objects in a safe place and avoid placing them in a sink full of water.
- Leave the use of knives to adults; if you are teaching your children to cut, make sure the knife used is not too sharp and supervise them as long as they are handling a knife.
- Keep electrical appliances away from water.
- Cook raw items to appropriate temperatures.
- Leave the handling of hot foods to the adults. Use a pot holder to move hot cookware and food. Make sure any hot items are out of reach (e.g., turn pot handles away from easy reach).
- Keep towels and paper towels away from the stovetop to help prevent fires.
- Keep your dishwasher locked—a child can easily pop open the cover and endure a burn.
- Wipe up any spills immediately to prevent slipping.
Once you’ve finished cooking:
- Clean up the area and take out the garbage.
- Store food in the refrigerator to prevent harmful bacteria from growing.
- Make sure the stove and all appliances are turned off prior to leaving the kitchen. If you have really young kids, unplug and put away appliances and place safety covers over the outlets.